Given Erie County's cash collapse and its Legislature's inability last year to achieve carefully considered and targeted spending cuts or reforms, a recent restoration of services and revenues by the County Clerk's Office deserves some applause. New Auto Bureau locations make life a bit easier for county residents, and promise a badly needed -- and rare -- profit.
Opening new offices in Evans and the City of Tonawanda earlier this month and adding a new weekly Mobile Auto Bureau stop in Hamburg are part of County Clerk David J. Swarts' plan to scatter five satellite mini-bureaus. He also arranged periodic mobile unit visits throughout the county. What emerged is a better system than the precut four offices that cost county taxpayers $3.4 million in 2004, while bringing in only $3.1 million in revenues from the county's 12.7 percent cut of transaction fees. The new system, Swarts said, requires fewer workers and may turn a $2 million profit. Part of the credit for that also goes to local leaders who have seen the advantage to their residents in providing rent-free space for registration and other services. That includes town and city halls in the Town and City of Tonawanda, West Seneca, Evans and space at Erie Community College's North Campus in Amherst.
This is rethinking government and how it delivers services. The new system costs less, includes more offices that increase accessibility and is expected to turn a profit. What's not to like?