The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch at Clay City, along with 23 other Indiana branches are under review for possible closure as the state BMV works toward a more efficient operation.
Clay County Commissioner Daryl Andrews, a Clay City businessman, said he received word of the possible closure days before an official announcement was made Monday.
Shutting down the Clay City branch "puts an unfair burden on it's citizens," Andrews said Wednesday. For residents of southern Clay County this could mean a nearly 60-mile round trip to the Brazil branch.
BMV Communications Director Greg Cook said the branch, which has three employees, is considered inefficient because of the number of transactions at the facility. This classification is not a reflection of the employees, a more accurate way to describe it is "underutilized efficiency," he said.
"Most likely, most, if not all, employees will be offered positions at other branches," Cook said.
During the last round of closings in Indiana, 25 jobs were lost and out of those, one person retired and three did not accept new positions. The others were relocated to new positions, he said.
Cook said any number of reasons exist for a branch to be considered inefficient such as number of transactions, lease agreement and geographic proximity to nearest branch.
Clay City ranked 155 out of 168 in number of transactions with 14,496. Only half of the branch's transactions, 49.8 percent, take place there. All the rest are performed through Internet and mail.
While the BMV sees this as a reason to review the efficiency of the branch, Andrews said he sees it as the opposite.
"I think that makes the argument on why you need the BMV" if nearly 50 percent of the people are visiting it, he said.
"Find me another state government program that 50 percent of the people are using on a yearly basis," Andrews said.
The Brazil branch ranked 100 out of 168 in number of transactions with approximately 39,000. Brazil has 59.6 percent of it's customers visiting the branch for needs. It currently does not face closure and if the Clay City branch closes, Brazil will never be in danger because Indiana law requires at least one branch per county.
The list of 24 facilities under review comes along with plans to close nine other Indiana branches.
"Most likely this will be the last list," Cook said.
BMV Commissioner Joel Silverman said the closings are not a radical notion.
"The push started several years ago," Cook said. The idea has been studied for years and is finally being implemented.
Public hearings are being scheduled, but no official announcements regarding dates have been made. The commissioner is required to attend all the public hearings related to the 24 reviews.
"We realize not everyone will be happy...at the same we're trying to do what's best for the state as a whole," Cook said.
Andrews said he plans on attending the hearing and he encourages the public to as well.