Those living in northern or central Essex County may have to drive for a while in order to take a driver’s test.
During the Oct. 17 Finance Committee meeting of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, County Clerk Joseph “Joe” Provoncha said that he had recently received word that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was looking to end road tests in Elizabethtown and Saranac Lake, along with nine other sites throughout the state.
Instead, those looking to earn their driver’s license would have to do so at the Ticonderoga satellite DMV office, the Malone DMV in Franklin County or the Plattsburgh DMV.
“They want to take away the testing site in Elizabethtown, and the Ticonderoga site would stay because they do the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) testing there,” Provoncha said. “My concern is what happens to people who live in St. Armand or Bloomingdale; they now have to go to Malone or Plattsburgh.”
Provoncha asked for, and received by unanimous second, a resolution of opposition to the elimination of the testing site from the committee, moving the resolution to the Ways and Means Committee.
Several supervisors said that they agreed that the testing site should be located in a central location for county residents, with the county seat being the ideal location.
“I don’t want to give up Ticonderoga either,” Provoncha said. “I would disagree with the state that the Elizabethtown site has a low volume of people coming in. Elizabethtown is where the main office for the DMV is, and it is also centrally located within the county.”
“This is nothing against Ticonderoga, but if there is going only one testing site in Essex County, then it has to be at the county seat,” Jay Supervisor and Essex County Chairman Randall “Randy” Douglas said. “It has to be centralized. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Elizabethtown is centrally located and I agree that is where the testing should be,” Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said.
The Elizabethtown DMV would continue to administer the written portion of the New York State driver’s test, but would no longer offer the driving portion if the plan goes into effect. Provoncha said that there has not been a timetable placed on the change, which the state said was being made to deal with numerous retirements within the driving inspector pool that were not being replaced.
In a letter to Provoncha, the state also cited safety of examiners, low volume of examinations (under 900 scheduled tests annually), travel costs from an examiner’s home station and lack of desirable elements as factors in making their decisions on what sites to close or leave open.
The state DMV said that they were open to hearing feedback from the counties affected, but that their plan was to implement the changes over the next couple of months.
DMV driving examination sites proposed for elimination include Elizabethtown (Essex); Saranac Lake (Franklin); Canton and Gouverneur (St. Lawrence); Salamanca (Cattaraugus); Delhi (Delaware); Bath and Hornell (Steuben); Ellenville (Ulster); and