For the first time since the state-run drivers license office near Carrabelle was shut down nearly two decades ago, driver licenses are being offered in the county.
Franklin County Tax Collector Richard Watson began the service Monday, with Linda Thompson, of Apalachicola, the first to receive one.
Residents can apply for an original driver license, and renew or reinstate a license. Other services include registering to vote and becoming an organ donor.
Driving tests will be administered by appointment only so please call 653-9323 to schedule a test.
Watson said those 10-minute tests, which include about 10 maneuvers, will be conducted on the road where Water Street curves at the base of the Gorrie Bridge.
He said 11 Franklin County High School students, who have taken the course online, will be among the first to be tested.
Last year, a total of 2,426 Franklin County residents had to travel out-of-county for driver licenses, with over 80 percent of these transactions were in adjacent Gulf and Wakulla counties.
Watson said the new service will be handled by clerks Marzetta Davis, and Cierra Hires, with all the front line clerks ultimately being trained.
He said the state covered the outlay of $25,000 that was needed to create the new service, and that it will require no increase in the tax collector’s office’s annual budget.
As per state statute, the licensing service yields the tax collector’s office $6.25 per transaction, which costs usually about $54.
“I think it is a great convenience to drivers,” said Watson. “I’m glad we’re able to do it.”
He said he estimates the new service will mean roughly 200 transactions a month, or about 10 per day.
Franklin becomes one of the last Florida counties to secure a licensing facility, with only about one or two remaining that lack one.
From now on, the people of Franklin County can handle any issues with driver licenses in their home county—no outside travel required.