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New license plate agency opening soon

The City of Washington is set to open its new license plate agency in February.

The new agency is located in leased office space the on the corner of Market and Second Streets.

“At last, we are just about ready to open our license plate office,” Mayor Donald Sadler said in a video presentation, adding that the Department of Transportation will release more information on Feb. 2.

The arrival of the new license plate agency means Beaufort County residents will no longer have to travel out of county or go online to renew their vehicle registration or license plates. Washington used to have a license plate agency at 127 N. Market St., but that location closed permanently in June 2019 because the office’s contractor no longer wanted to run the agency.

The City of Washington applied to run the new agency in October 2019, after an unsuccessful 10-month search for a new contractor. At that time, City Manager Jonathan Russell said there were several benefits to having the city government operate the new agency, including the fact that employees at the new DMV could also help the city with other customer service tasks.

Plans to open the new agency were stalled last year because the DMV put a hold on employee trainings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That suspension has since been lifted.