Before too long, Farmington residents will be able to get driver's licenses renewed right in their own downtown.
Gone will be the days of driving to Lakeville or Apple Valley to get new license tabs for vehicles. Picking up a fishing or hunting license will be easier, too.
As it looks right now, Farmington will have its very own deputy registrar's office in Farmington City Hall by the end of the month. At least, that's the plan.
The city will not run the licensing center. Once the contracts are signed and the final details ironed out, a company called Quick Serve - they're the company that runs the licensing center in South St. Paul - will operate the registrar's office. But city administrator Peter Herlofsky is just fine with that.
"This process has been really exciting," he said. "I think the benefits long-term will be really worth it."
After being approved for a deputy registrar's office last year, Farmington officials considered making it a city-run operation. Budget constraints, though, made the idea impossible in 2011. But then Herlofsky received proposals from two outside companies that have experience running licensing centers.
With a nod of approval from the city council, Herlofsky started to check into both companies, and found both to be reputable. His decision to go with Quick Serve was not easy, he added.
There are a few loose ends to be tied up before the office opens. On Tuesday, Herlofsky was headed to the state offices to do some paperwork at the Department of Natural Resources. Next week, he plans to bring a contract to the Farmington City Council for signing. And then, it's just a matter of time before the registrar's office opens.
The office will offer driver's licenses, license tabs, license plates and game and fishing licenses, along with a few other amenities.
"We intend to have a full-service deputy registrar's office in place," Herlofsky said.
The opening date hasn't been established yet, but the city administrator expects to have the office up and running by the end of the month.
He looks forward to the foot traffic the office will bring to downtown Farmington, too. South St. Paul officials report 20 to 30 visitors an hour. It may take a while before the Farmington center attracts that many customers, but Herlofsky is optimistic.
"It's my hope this will also generate more traffic downtown and maybe create more exposure for the businesses we have," he said.
Herlofsky expected to have most of the details in place and an opening date established by Feb. 14.