Orange County residents will drive fewer miles to renew their car registrations and license plates when a new N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles office opens in October on East Franklin Street.
The county has been without a local DMV license plate agency since November. Caprina Kirkpatrick, who had run a license plate agency in University Mall since 1989, was charged with embezzling $4,280 in state money. The loss of a local office forced Orange County car owners to drive to license plate agencies in Durham, Burlington and Siler City.
The state contracts for roughly 120 license plate agencies. Orange County has driver’s license offices in Carrboro and Hillsborough, but no offices where drivers can get vehicle titles, registrations and license plates.
DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said she does not know how Kirkpatrick’s case was resolved, but the state has negotiated a new contract with Bruce Farmer, of Calvary Management, who already operates a DMV office on N.C. 55 in Durham.
Farmer said the office in Suite B at 1704 E. Franklin St., near Staples, could open Oct. 16. Howell said it has taken nearly a year to reopen, because DMV officials had to make sure it would be financially feasible before advertising the contract.
License plate offices are operated as private businesses. Contractors complete a three-week class before hiring staff and installing the equipment, Howell said.
“They have to be financially responsible, have business experience (and), of course, be trustworthy and pass the background checks,” she said.