The business that helps issue drivers licenses and registrations in Petersburg is closing its doors at the end of the month. Another business is expected to take over that service although no word yet on when.
Petersburg Vehicle Title and Registration is operated by Doc and Beverly Lopez in the Petersburg Indian Association’s Peratrovich-Hallingstad building. They had a three-year contract with the state to provide drivers licenses and give road tests. That started in 2015 when their company took over the service from the borough’s police department. They also issue registrations and titles for vehicle, boats, trailers, four wheelers and snow machines.
“They’ve decided they don’t want to do this anymore and we have appreciated all of the work that they’ve done for the state in providing the DMV services,” said Marla Thompson, director of the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. “We do have, we are working with another company to provide these services for Petersburg and are just in the midst of getting that contract signed.”
The last day for the Lopezes’ business is Thursday, November 30 from 8 a.m. to noon. The couple say they’re looking to retire.
“Finally doing full retirement as we’ve both retired, her from her state job and me from my borough job and now from this state contract,” Doc Lopez explained.
“You know I’ve seen so many couples that they put off retirement for more money, or whatever, just a little bit longer, little bit longer, then someone ends up in long term care or they pass on and they didn’t get to enjoy one another’s company the way they had hoped and we just don’t wanna be that couple,” Beverly Lopez added. “We have things we wanna do and share together with family and friends.”
She retired from a decades-long career with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation this year while he retired after more than two decades as a dispatcher with the local police department in 2015.
The DMV also has closures on Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving. Thompson explained the state does not want the Petersburg office closed for long.
“We’re hoping to minimize that as much as we can but until the contract’s signed we don’t have our dates for training,” Thompson said. “The new folks will need to be trained on all of the DMV processes which requires them coming in to Anchorage and getting that training done. So we haven’t set that date yet but we are hoping to have that in the next month. So we don’t want to be closed.”
While the office is closed, DMV services are available online, including duplicates or renewals for a driver’s license. There will be a brief outage early next month for online service too though. The DMV plans a system outage and a statewide closure of offices over the first weekend of December, from 5 p.m. December 1st to 8 a.m. December 4 to transition to a new computer system. The main office number for the division is 269-5551.