Anthony to open its first MVD office later this year
New site means greater convenience
LAS CRUCES >> Anthony Mayor Arnulfo Castañeda said he isn’t doing his job if he isn’t looking to generate revenue.
“I believe the need is there to provide this service to the public, not only to the residents of Anthony but to the surrounding community north, south and east of Anthony,” Castañeda said. “We have signed a contract with the state, and have approved a contract with a contractor to build what we need.”
The new MVD field office will be inside Anthony City Hall, 820 N.M. 478. A section of City Hall has been gutted and remodeling will begin in about four weeks. The field office is expected to begin operations in December.
Residents will be able to obtain, or renew, driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, transfer ownerships of vehicle titles and all other services provided by the state Motor Vehicle Division.
“I’m excited about the new venture the city is taking on,” said Sukie Saldaña, deputy city clerk, who will oversee operations.
Berino resident Juanita Ruvalcaba is excited, too, but for different reasons.
“There’s a lot of people that have to go to Las Cruces or Sunland (Park) to renew their licenses, and that can be a hard trip to make sometimes.” Ruvalcaba said. “This will be a lot closer, a lot shorter to get to. I’ll bet they do pretty good business.”
However, there have been problems, from time to time, at MVD field offices in Mesilla, Sunland Park and Las Cruces. Charges of malfeasance have been made against some employees for illegally issuing driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registrations, or embezzling funds from fees collected.
Castañeda said he is aware of the checkered pasts of some MVD field offices. However, he doesn’t foresee any problems.
“While I am mayor, I will not let that happen,” Castañeda said. “Certainly, I have faith in our staff. I can assure everyone we will follow all federal and state requirements that apply to any service residents would come into the MVD office for.”
Castañeda added an MVD field office could net the city of Anthony as much as $50,000 during its first year. The city’s profit will come from administrative fees it will collect for the services it provides.
“Some percentage of every transaction — for now, I’m estimating about 5 percent — will be charged in administrative fees,” Castañeda said. “The really good thing is that all of it will stay in Anthony.”
The new field office is projected to handle about 1,300 transactions every month, but will be capable of processing as many as 2,500 a month. The revenues are important to Anthony because most of its commercial businesses are on the Texas side of Anthony, which straddles the New Mexico and Texas state line.
“Anthony, New Mexico is in a unique area,” Castañeda said. “Simply, we can’t compete with the laws in Texas, which tend to favor businesses much more favorably than New Mexico. That’s why a lot of bigger and bigger-name businesses are on the Texas side.
“But it’s still our responsibility to do everything we can to attract business or stimulate revenues. That’s why we’re doing this; we need to provide revenues to provide services our city residents continue to ask us for.”
The new MVD field office is expected to open with at least three stations to process transactions. Saldaña and three city employees will initially staff the office. But Castañeda said as many as five stations could become operational if demand is high.