The once and future location of the Clay City branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The facility will re-open in mid-February as a county-administrated entity, thanks to the efforts of the Clay County Board of Commissioners and demand among Clay City residents.
A sign still taped to the door at the former location of the Clay City branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles informs visitors of the facility's permanent closure as of Oct. 22, 2005. The notice directs customers to other BMV locations in the area, all at least a half-hour away.
According to Clay County Commissioner Daryl Andrews, that sign will soon come down. The license branch will re-open as a county-administrated facility, pending finalization of an agreement between the Clay County Board of Commissioners and Indiana BMV President Joel Silverman.
Andrews sees the final contract as "a formality." He expects to receive a signed agreement from the state by the end of next week and plans to re-open the branch in mid-February.
Under the agreement, the county will receive $18,000 from the state to operate the branch in 2006. The state will recoup those costs through returns on a $4 per-transaction fee. Any leftover profit, which Andrews predicts will be minimal, will be directed back to the county.
If the branch cannot support itself, the commissioners can terminate the agreement with the state after 30 days. But Andrews said he believes the facility will hold its own, given the demand among Clay City residents for their own license branch.
"We believe this is a viable opportunity that will sustain itself with a little help from the state and the four-dollar transaction fee," he said.
Since the Indiana BMV made the decision to shut down the Clay City Branch, Andrews and his fellow members of the Clay County Board of Commissioners have worked diligently to find an economically feasible way to keep the facility open.
Andrews met with Indiana Silverman shortly after the closure was announced, armed with a petition signed by 2,300 concerned citizens determined to keep the Clay City branch afloat. The resulting solution represents one of the first county-administrated motor vehicle branches in the region.
"We are plowing new ground here," Andrews told The Times in a Dec. 7 interview. "This has never been done in the state of Indiana before."