Butler County court clerk considers moving title office near BMV

Butler County Clerk of Courts Mary Swain plans to move her Hamilton title office to the westside near the BMV on Brookwood Avenue so drivers will have one-stop shopping. Supporters say the expense is worth it because Swain will be able to increase her revenues. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Butler County Clerk of Courts Mary Swain plans to move her Hamilton title office to the westside near the BMV on Brookwood Avenue so drivers will have one-stop shopping. Supporters say the expense is worth it because Swain will be able to increase her revenues. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Clerk of Courts Mary Swain routinely turns about $1 million worth of excess title fees back over to the Butler County general fund, and she believes moving her Hamilton title office to the shopping center where the BMV is on the west side will even better that bottom line.

Swain’s title office is currently located on the fifth floor of the Government Services Center. She said it is inconvenient for her customers, who also need the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on Brookwood Avenue.

“Moving there would give a one-stop shop for our customers,” she said. “It just makes it more convenient because occasionally, well probably more than occasionally, we’ll have people who come in to get a title and they don’t have what they need from the BMV and we have to send them out.”

There is a second Hamilton BMV on the east side, but Swain said her Fairfield title office is close enough and is located next to the BMV there.

She pencilled $33,000 into her budget for the new location, and has had preliminary talks with the shopping center representatives, but will be making a formal presentation county commissioners, who will have to sanction the idea.

“We’re kind of hoping the increased business will help to offset that though,” she said.

There are title offices in Middletown, Hamilton, Fairfield and West Chester Twp. She said they are on track to make about $2.87 million in title fees, and she plans to turn $1 million back to the general fund.

Commissioner Don Dixon said he has had a brief discussion about the potential office move, and it sounds promising.

“I think it does make sense, and I think the numbers will make sense too,” he said. “I think it will actually increase the revenue for the county.”

Commissioner T.C. Rogers also appeared supportive, but said he still needs to see the plan.

“Obviously when you’re going to make a move to make more money, that’s’s a good move,” he said.

Commissioner Cindy Carpenter couldn't be reached for comment but has said more than once she would like to earmark the clerk's $1 million for historic courthouse restoration. Her fellow commissioners don't agree.

Dixon said after they retire all their debt in 2020 they should have plenty of money to address capital improvement needs throughout the county.

“The courthouse falls into the capital improvement plan for the whole county, and I’m not in favor of setting aside any money for any one specific building or project,” he said. “It all needs to be looked at in total.”