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INDEPENDENCE — Three town employees will receive a 25 percent bonus from extra profits made through the Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Independence Town Council called a special meeting Nov. 21 to consider the proposal on what to do with money being made by the town's DMV Select office.
After more than 90 minutes in closed session discussing the proposal, Vice Mayor Tom Maxwell motioned to accept the DMV funds as proposed. The motion was seconded by Council Member Jason Cassell and passed with a 3-0 vote.
Council Member Shane Adams abstained from voting — as he is a town employee — and council members R.C. Cox and Ronald Anders were absent.
Independence took on the responsibility of running the “co-business” in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Transportation and, although it is not a part of the town's business, it is a venture to help both the DMV and town revenue.
In a statement, the town said that “this venture with DMV began as an association with DMV to be a convenience to the local public, so as not to have to travel several miles to the nearest DMV office.”
The original plan was to be a non-profit operation for the town, with Independence receiving a small percent of funds from DMV for operating the office.
“Over the last few years, the ladies in the town office have taken it upon themselves to contact auto dealers throughout the region and let them know of the DMV services provided by the town, as well as letting the public know the advantages of doing their DMV work locally,” the press release said.
It continues to say the DMV later added some incentive into the system, by increasing the percent of money paid to the town, taken in by the town for DMV work, and also increased the percentage of money even more for the town taking in more than $500,000.
“This source of funds has become a profitable venture for the town,” said the release. “Which allows the town to avoid raising property taxes, water rates and sewer rates that would negatively affect town citizens. This operation has become a real asset to the town.”
Over the years, Kim Farmer, Kim Phipps and Trenda Kinser are the three town employees credited with building up the DMV's business and — although it is not part of the town's work or in their job descriptions — the three have worked hard putting in extra effort to bring in more money.
Because of their extra work, a proposal was drawn up to consider sharing the extra funds with the staff that has, according to council's statement, “worked above and beyond, to secure this profitable business.”
The proposal presented to council asked to take the extra DMV funds received by the town — above the yearly budgeted amounts expected to be obtained from DMV — and divide it into four sections.
Each of the town's DMV staff will receive 25 percent of the profits as a bonus on a yearly basis, with a cap amount equal to 12 percent of their annual salary.
The remaining 25 percent will go into an account to be set aside for the future construction or purchase of a new town office building.
“Incentive to continue attempts to obtain these available DMV funds will benefit the town, its citizens, the regional public and the staff members that have made this possible,” the statement said.