The Clay City branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles closed its doors Oct. 22, but the efforts of concerned citizens and the Clay County Board of Commissioners have given the facility new life.
When the decision was made last month to close the Clay City branch, Clay County Commissioners approached Indiana BMV President Joel Silverman with the signatures of 2,300 area residents and a plan that would allow the branch to be administrated by the county. The state agreed to a one-year trial under the county's terms.
"We are plowing new ground," said Commissioner Daryl Andrews. "This is something that has never been done in the state of Indiana before."
The board of commissioners unanimously approved ordinance 16-2005 at its meeting Monday, creating a fund for the receipt of monthly installments of the $18,000 subsidy the state has allocated to the license branch for 2006. The ordinance also designated a convenience fee of $4 per transaction, expected to generate the majority of the branch's operating budget.
The board of commissioners has scrambled to keep the Clay City BMV afloat since Silverman and Gov. Mitch Daniels made the decision to close the branch last month.
"I think we owe it to the people of that community to do everything we can to see this thing happen," said Commissioner Charlie Brown.
Andrews said he expects the branch to re-open Jan. 3. Its operations will be scaled back significantly, he said.
The branch will reduce its staff from three full-time employees to one full-time employee and a part-time worker, and its hours of operation will be reduced. The two-person staff will also shoulder new responsibilities, including basic maintenance of the facility.
"One thing was the cancellation of janitorial services," Andrews said. "That responsibility has been shifted to the staff at the branch."
According to Andrews, the state will deposit $1500 into the fund each month. The first three months will be paid up front, Andrews said, to cover employee wages and start-up costs. While the long term viability of the branch hinges on revenue from the $4 per-transaction fee, the state cannot remove the subsidy when business at the branch sags.
"We'll get that subsidy whether we have one transaction or 1,000 transactions," he said.