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New driver's licenses blamed for DMV troubles

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Thursday is an average day at the Rensselaer County DMV.

"You see me waiving," said a clerk to a customer.

Clerk Frank Merola says new products like the enhanced drivers licenses and Real ID's are slowing down the process.

He says EDL's and Real IDs take much longer to process, lowering the number of transactions they can finish in one business day. Merola says that's partially responsible for a $100,000 decrease in revenue from last year.

"We're actually busier than ever been, but we're making less money," Merola said.

In Columbia County, they're also feeling the effects. Clerk Holly Tanner says her and clerks across the state keep only around 12 percent of the fee revenues. The state keeps the rest.

"People now have to come into our offices and prove their identification all over again. There's a lot of additional paperwork,” Tanner said.

The State Association of County Clerks is pushing for legislation to give their counties a bigger slice of the pie. Their bill would increase the percentage of the fees that they keep from 12 to 25 percent. Clerks are asking the governor to include this in this year’s state budget.

Merola says that change is overdue.

"They gotta change that retention fee. They've gotta start giving the clerk's more money for the process that we do," Merola said.

The Saratoga County clerk says their revenues haven't gone down because of the new products, But he says a growing population has increased the cost of doing business, and the current fee revenues won't be sustainable.

The counties are also losing revenue from customers that conduct transactions online. The state takes roughly 98 percent of those fees.

CBS 6 reached out to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and the State DMV, but did not hear back.

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