Mississippi Department of Public Safety requests a new building for the Vicksburg Driver’s License Office
Published 4:35 pm Monday, July 26, 2021
Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety appeared before the Warren County Board of Supervisors in Monday’s working meeting to ask for the relocation of the Vicksburg Driver’s License Office.
Director of Driver Services, Kevin Raymond, said the current building the office is located in, which was purchased by the Board of Supervisors, is simply too small to fully accommodate its workers and visitors. He said the building needs an additional entrance, a second bathroom, a break room and more square footage. However, he said the state doesn’t provide funding for those needs.
“I’ve noticed that the state is pretty cheap,” Raymond said. “They don’t seem to be paying the rent or paying anything, but they let the county do it all.”
Currently, the Warren County Board of Supervisors pays for everything regarding the building where the driver’s license office is located, including cleaning services, utilities and everything else except personnel. Kelle Barfield, District 5 Supervisor, said everyone is willing to help and aware that a new building is necessary, and the first step is to look back at the contract with the MDPS to see what the guidelines are for the supervisors’ obligations with the building.
The new office space being considered for the Vicksburg Driver’s License Office is located at the former Outlets of Vicksburg. It would be 10,000 square feet, have two restrooms, multiple entrances and a large parking lot.
“The building is very adequate,” Co-General Manager of the outlets, Margaret Gilmer, said. “I’m pretty sure it would be on a lease basis, which is fine, and the number of years doesn’t really matter to us.”
The parking lot would provide a space for CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) training, which Rhonda Howard, the office manager of Vicksburg Driver’s License Office, said would make a big difference. Currently, to perform a CDL test on the road, it is an hour-and-a-half round trip for instructors to get to the closest place they can conduct a test.
“This location has the space to do the road test and the closest place right now to do that road test is in Pearl,” Howard said.
This isn’t the first time a new building has been in the works for the office. Several years ago, there was a location on Drummond Street set to be purchased by the supervisors.
However, it didn’t work out because of the close proximity to daycares in the area and the fact that Vicksburg Driver’s License Office is also the site where people go to register as sex offenders. Howard said it is a good thing that building wasn’t purchased, because they couldn’t have accommodated the CDL training at that location.
Howard said this would benefit everyone, because their office doesn’t just serve Warren County, but several counties around the area who either don’t have their own office or one that is a hassle because of long wait times.
“Even the ones that have offices still come here,” Howard said. “They like to spend the day in Vicksburg once they’re here. I think it’s really beneficial for a lot of people.”
Because neighboring counties take advantage of the office in Vicksburg, the President of Warren County Board of Supervisors, Jeff Holland, said they need to look into opportunities for additional counties to provide funding for a new building as they also would benefit.
“I think we have to talk our way through what the state is capable of doing, what the county can do, and whether this actually would be sold as a regional license environment instead of just Warren County’s because it’s serving multiple counties,” Holland said.
Holland said this is the beginning of conversation and the board is happy to continue exploring options for a new building.
“We are very happy to work with you through all of this and to come to an equitable solution,” Holland said.