The Blaine County Commissioners agreed to raise transaction fees at the county’s Department of Motor Vehicles in Hailey on Tuesday, a move they hope will cover the costs of administering the office for the state.

On the recommendation of County Assessor Jim Williams, the board decided to raise the fee from $3.85 per transaction to $8.25—the first increase since 1995. At that rate, he projects the office can break even on the approximately 28,000 transactions it handles each year.

This year, the Assessor’s Office projects a $130,000 deficit in DMV operations. Under state statute, county assessors operate the DMV for the Idaho Transportation Department, and are allowed to charge fees “reasonably related” to the cost of providing that service.

“When that fee is correct, the whole cost of the DMV should be paid by the users of the DMV, and not by property tax,” Williams said earlier this month. “Basically, it’s being subsidized by property taxpayers. That’s not a fair way to do it.”

DMV fees vary widely from county to county, depending on volume and the cost of running the shop. Twin Falls County charges $2.50, while Payette County charges $8.25, Williams said.

The fee increase will not affect the cost of getting a driver’s license, which is administered by the Sheriff’s Office, even though they are obtained at the DMV.

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