By Seth Schmidt
Tracy City Hall and its deputy registrar office will be open an extra half hour, Monday through Friday, beginning May 1.
Tracy City Council members unanimously agreed to extend the office’s closing time from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at their April 10 meeting. Council members felt the extra half hour would be helpful to the public in renewing vehicle license tabs, drivers’ licenses and obtaining Minnesota Department of Natural Resources licenses.
Council members rejected options for evening hours or the possibility of Saturday hours, after reviewing a memo from City Administrator Madonna Peterson. Council members had asked Peterson to research possibilities for expanded office hours on Saturday and/or one night a week as a convenience to the public.
Peterson reported that although it would be possible to connect with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle mainframe computer on a Saturday, functionality would be limited.
Another issue with Saturday hours, Peterson said, is the fact that the City of Tracy’s procedures for balancing and closing out a point-of-sale drawer requires two employees to be present as an internal financial control.
The city administrator shared survey results of 15 City Hall offices in the region, and none offered Saturday hours. Weekday closing times ranged from 4 to 6 p.m. Peterson also reported that legislation has advanced in St. Paul to establish uniform hours for state licensing bureaus.
Peterson also noted that administrative assistant Diane Campbell already works some evenings, which could limit her availability for Saturday hours, and that three of the four City Hall office workers were hired without any mention of Saturday hours. Expanded hours could become a subject of a “shift differential” during union negotiations, Peterson reported.
The administrator said that while the staff would “make anything work that you request of us” regarding the schedule, she advised against the addition of Saturday hours.
Council consensus was that the extra half hour each weekday would be helpful. They rejected the idea of having later closing times on specific nights, reasoning that it was better to have uniform hours.
Employees at Tracy City Hall now work until 5 p.m., although access to the public ends at 4 p.m., in order to allow city staff to update records and transactions by 5 p.m.