New Brighton anticipates full-service DMV this year

At the end of May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill that made provisions for New Brighton to have its own full-service licensing bureau.

Currently, New Brighton residents have a few options when it comes to receiving or renewing a driver’s license. All those options involve a bit of driving — folks can head over to Roseville, Columbia Heights, Blaine, Arden Hills or downtown St. Paul.

That’s why Rep. Connie Bernardy, DFL-New Brighton, introduced the just-signed bill in the Legislature this past January.

The suburb’s small license bureau, located inside City Hall, offers many services that any Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles office provides, including motor vehicle title transfers, registration tabs, fish and game licenses, watercraft, snowmobile and ATV licenses, replacement plates and more. At the moment, though, the office does not issue or renew driver’s licenses.

That will change. According to a June 22 statement from New Brighton, the scope of the bureau’s services will be expanding, likely this year.

There are a few things the city has to do first, like submit an application to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, purchase necessary equipment, remodel the current office, provide training and hire additional staff.

“It is our hope to begin offering [driver’s licenses] yet this year,” City Manager Dean Lotter said in the statement.

Additionally, he noted, starting in 2018, the New Brighton License Bureau will also be able to issue driver’s licenses and ID cards that comply with the federal REAL ID Act.

“Expanding the services offered at the New Brighton License Bureau accomplishes several City Council goals,” Mayor Val Johnson said in the statement. “One is to provide better services to the residents of New Brighton, and to generate more fee-based revenues for the City.”

She explained that this, in turn, will “help keep the property tax in check.” 

Johnson added, “Many residents and visitors have requested the ability to renew their driver’s licenses at the License Bureau, so this is a welcome addition.” 

According to Bernardy, the city will handle the financial details now that the bill is passed, but she noted that the DMV will receive money for processing transactions from the state, and because neighboring licensing centers are often bottlenecked, she said “New Brighton has received letters from many of the surrounding DMVs in support of New Brighton starting a full-service DMV.” 


Jesse Poole can be reached at or at 651-748-7815.

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