Oahu’s main DMV moving next month amid questions from lawmakers

News

The city’s busiest DMV is getting ready to close and reopen in a new location.

Councilmembers want to make sure taxpayers are getting the best deal.

KHON2 first reported a few months ago that the Kalihi DMV and satellite city hall is moving to the old Sprint building next to Costco in Iwilei.

The big move is happening next month.

With the city about to open Kapalama Hale and council members about to approve the next year’s budget, the building was one item that caught councilmember Ann Kobyashi’s eye.

Kobayashi says she questioned why taxpayers are paying $154,000 a month to lease a building that the city eventually plans to buy.

“I thought we were going to purchase the building out right, and I don’t know why we’re in this deal where we have to rent. We were told six years at first, now we’re told three years. It’s still a long time to rent when we want to buy the building,” said Kobayashi.

So KHON2 brought her concerns to the administration, and a spokesman told KHON2 the city has the option to purchase the building next year for $27.5 million. That’s what it plans to do.

A spokesman says the owner was not willing to sell the building outright without a lease in place and that this way, the city got the best deal.

Councilmember Trevor Ozawa says he just wants to make sure the deal is in the best interest of taxpayers. “I’m definitely for consolidating the services because currently we do have a lot of the departments spread out throughout town in different buildings, but I would have to see what cumulative effect is on what we’re paying now and rent and what we’re going to be later,” he said.

Multiple departments will be consolidated into this building, allowing the city to provide better customer service and save taxpayers money by not renting out multiple spaces. The city said, “we see the present value of the benefits and the eventual purchase price of Kapalama Hale to be a win-win.”

The last day of service at the Kalihi Satellite City Hall is June 17 with the new office opening inside Kapalama Hale the following Tuesday, June 21.

The DMV’s last day in Kalihi is June 24, and it’ll reopen in its new location on June 28.

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