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Yellowstone County opens vehicle registration office at MetraPark

Motor Vehicle Satellite Office.jpg
Posted at 10:13 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 10:13:55-05

BILLINGS - The Yellowstone County Motor Vehicle Satellite Office opened in the MetraPark First Interstate Arena lobby on Wednesday.

Vehicle registration falls under the Department Of Justice, so Attorney General Austin Knudsen helped with a ribbon cutting on the day the office opened.

Motor Vehicle Satellite Office 2.jpg

It makes it easier to register a vehicle and also it's in a building already owned by the county.

Two people can run the office in what used to be a will-call booth and a storage closet.

"People will able to get in and get out quite quickly and I really believe it's gonna be a great value," said Sherry Long, Yellowstone County treasurer.

Long oversees vehicle registration.

She said 15 others work in downtown Billings and in a satellite office in Laurel.

The hope with this new office is to decrease wait times, which sometimes last hours for those registering vehicles at the county courthouse.

"There was about three times the volume in the last couple of years than we've had in previous years," Long said.

And people are already loving this new location.

"You have the numbers and whatnot, and it's just endless down there," said Tim Harada, who registered his vehicle at the new office. "So this is completely convenient."

The idea came during COVID when only seven people could stand in line in the lobby at the courthouse

"And I was looking and going wow we've got some space here," said Yellowstone County Commissioner Denis Pitman. "Originally I was looking at a spot at the box office and started talking to staff and they said well we've got this will call area. Why don't we use that and provide that opportunity? We have plenty of room in the lobby for social distancing."

Pittman said Billings may be the only place in the country with this type of setup.

"Everywhere we hear this is like the first one where you've combined a motor vehicle and an entertainment facility in the same place," Pitman said.

"As soon as people find out about it and the word gets spread a little more, I believe it's going to be a very busy office," Long said.