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Thursday, June 16, 2005
As the city expands and restores driver's license substations throughout the island, getting a driver's license is expected to get easier.
"It's part of what we do anyway, and people expect this as a city service to get their driver's license renewed. So I'm happy that people who live on this side of the island now will be able to do it here, as opposed to driving into town or driving to the Leeward side," Hannemann said.
Satellite city halls at Hawaii Kai, Fort Street Mall and Windward Mall now process driver's license renewals and duplications.
Hannemann's staff also is working to reinstate a Kaneohe driver's license station where road tests will be administered to fulfill a City Council request.
"When it's something that the city government does, and only the city government provides it, then it's a need-to-have," Hannemann said. "And driver's licensing, road tests are very much part of the basic city services."
The Waipahu Satellite City Hall and the Kaneohe driver's license station were closed by budgets cuts, and dramatically increased business at other license locations.
The Windward Mall site saw a fivefold jump in the number of license renewals and duplicates to nearly 25,000, said Joan Manke, special adviser to the director of the Customer Services Department, which oversees driver's licensing and satellite city halls.
"It means more people in line," Manke said. "What we're trying to do is spread out the work. And that's the whole concept, I think, of satellites, is to provide the service in your own community."
Earlier this year the city allowed residents to schedule driving test appointments online to reduce long lines. The city hired three new employees at a cost of about $75,000 in salaries to add licensing services at Hawaii Kai.
"I just want to make sure it's not going to cost an arm and a leg," Hannemann said. "So all we had to do was reallocate resources, make sure the manpower was there to do it."
Area Councilman Charles Djou said the service keeps residents closer to home and off sometimes congested town-bound highways.
"If he's able to increase services but not increase the size of the budget, I think it's fantastic," Djou said of Hannemann's efforts to expand services without asking the Council for more money.
City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz added nearly $360,000 in next year's budget for eight positions, rental costs and other expenses to reopen the Kaneohe driver's license station.
Dela Cruz said area residents were not happy to lose the station.
The station closed last year after renovations at the Kaneohe Police Station but was not reopened because of concerns about staffing, safety and parking. The city is looking for a new location.
Dela Cruz and Councilman Nestor Garcia would also like to see restoration of mobile satellite city hall services to rural areas that were eliminated by Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration after the City Council made cuts to the budget.
Garcia said he would like to see how the mayor's ideas work out first. "I'm realistic because I know we have to work within our means," Garcia said.