Precinct 3 Commissioner Jack Wilson appears to have made good on a campaign promise: bringing a driver’s license office back to Granbury.
After working with state officials for five months to achieve that goal, Wilson placed an item on Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda to move the county’s Development office and Environmental Health office from Annex 3 on West Pearl Street to the Acton Annex, freeing up space for a Department of Public Safety driver’s license office.
Wilson said he believes the idea will have the court’s support.
A driver’s license office was located at Annex 3 before but was booted several years ago by a different Commissioners Court.
Court members at that time said that the space was needed for county services for the growing community, but they thought that DPS would simply find another location nearby.
Instead, DPS announced that it would no longer offer driver’s license services in Hood County.
The services did ultimately remain in Hood County after Tolar Mayor Terry Johnson offered a building at 105 Pine Lane.
However, that location is less convenient for most Hood County residents and its small size provides little privacy or waiting space. Wilson said he has collected data indicating that significant numbers of Hood County residents have traveled to DPS locations in other counties since the move.
Wilson said that the new Annex 3 office will not be a full-service office. It will not offer written tests or driving tests, but people will be able to renew their driver’s licenses and take care of other matters such as name or address changes.
The site will be operated by two employees, at least initially. Funding for the positions was in the recently approved budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, he said.
By statute, the county will be allowed to levy a $5 surcharge for driver’s license services, Wilson stated.
The commissioner said that he expects the 2023 Legislature to approve funding for DPS that will allow the state agency to build a full-service driver’s license office in Hood County, on the Fort Worth side.
“The architects are already working on it,” he said.
In the meantime, though, Wilson said that he will reach out to state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and state Rep. Shelby L. Slawson, R-Stephenville, in hopes of getting their support for the planned new facility.
Slawson, who represents District 59 in the Texas House, is expected to become Hood County’s representative through redistricting, Wilson said. The county is currently part of District 60, which is represented by Glenn Rogers, R-Palo Pinto.
As for the Tolar driver’s license office, it will remain open to help serving the growing county, Wilson said.