William County Commissioners have voted to assume operational management of Williston's Motor Vehicle Office.

At a special meeting held on Monday, commissioners formalized the agreement, which allows the county to assume control of the branch, with motor vehicle staff transitioning to County employees beginning on Jan. 1.

The Williston State College Foundation has held the contract to operate the Motor Vehicle Office since 2011 but elected not to renew the contract, seeking to discontinue its involvement in October of this year.

At a Williston City Commission meeting held in September, City Administrator David Tuan presented the issue to the assembled commission, explaining the need to keep a local motor vehicle branch open in Williston. At that meeting, he presented a draft contract to the city commissioners which outlined the terms for the city and county to assume control of the DMV and prevent the loss of services to area residents. That agreement outlined the responsibilities of management, which included a term beginning in October and concluding in June of 2020.

"The overall purpose of this is to ensure that the service to the community stays here," he explained. "Without this agreement, it's a pretty good chance that the DMV will not be here."

A formal contract with the North Dakota Department of Transportation is pending signature, but the DMV will continue operations throughout the transition. The county will be working with the city and the WSC Foundation to facilitate a seamless transition, as well as working to ensure that employees retain benefits similar to what they receive currently.

"It should be fairly seamless," Tuan told city commissioners in September, "We just want to make sure everything with respect to benefits and retirement and all that stays the same. It's not our intent to change any of it. The location of the DMV would stay the same, the rent and all those things would remain as it is."

At September's meeting, Williston Mayor Howard Klug noted that it would not be a financial burden to take over management of the DMV, stating that he felt it was necessary to keep the local office open.

"We would be sorely remiss if we didn't keep that service here in Williston." he said.

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