Making it into the Standard’s Top 10 news stories for the second year in a row was the ongoing saga of the Driver Testing Center – will it stay or will it go?
During 2016, the facility was closed by the state in May and reopened in October. The temporary closure was touted by the state as a cost-saving measure of $5,000 a month in rent, while its opening was a $4,000 expenditure split by Warren County government and McMinnville city government to give the state time to restore funding.
The state’s decision to close McMinnville’s Driver Testing Center came in 2015.
Voicing their stance against the closure, both Warren County commissioners and McMinnville officials passed similar resolutions opposing the closure and encouraging the state to reconsider its decision. Those were sent to the state.
The measures were fruitless, as Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Gibbons held a conference in Warren County in November 2015 and assured those present the facility would close by May 31, 2016 unless a financial agreement could be reached between local officials and the state.
True to his word, the facility closed May 31. To restore that service, city officials entered into an agreement to pay $4,000 in rent on the building. County commissioners agreed to reimburse the city half that cost.
Reopening comes with a caveat: If the state does not restore funding to the facility in its 2016-17 fiscal year budget, the facility could face closure for a second time.