License centers to cut back hours starting March 1

by Kelly Johnson
Staff Writer

Changes are coming to the operating hours at Anoka County license centers.

The restructured hours are effective March 1.

The changes come as a way to improve service to residents, reduce costs within license centers and as part of an ongoing effort of lean government, according to Paula Anderson, license center manager.

Under the proposal, each license center – there are five in the county – will be reduced to 42 hours per week from the current 47 hours.

The Columbia Heights center will provide early morning service and individual license centers will be open one of three evenings.

Currently, the license centers are open nine hours a day with one 11-hour day for a total of 47 hours.

The reduction will mean there will be four, eight and a half hour days with one eight-hour late day, totaling 42 hour a week.

Despite the reduction in hours at the individual license center, total hours county license centers are open will expand to 54 hours a week, resulting in services available for 10 hours Mondays (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.), 12 hours Tuesdays (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), 11 hours Wednesdays (8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), 12 hours Thursdays (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and 10 hours Fridays (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

The changes are expected to save between $19,000 and $20,000 annually, Anderson said.

“This really is definitely a win-win situation,” said Rhonda Sivarajah, Anoka County Board chairperson.

The Blaine and Ham Lake license centers will work in partnership with one another, according to Anderson, with the Blaine office handling passports and Ham Lake handling birth and death certificates.

Hours at the Blaine and Ham Lake locations are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Hours Thursday are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In a similar way, the Coon Rapids and Ramsey license centers will work together, with passports available in Ramsey and vital statistics at Coon Rapids.

Office hours at these locations are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesdays the license centers will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New business hours for the Columbia Heights license center will be from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Kelly Johnson is at [email protected]