Clay City BMV Branch Manager Staci Dickey renewed Sheriff Mike Heaton's license plate before the crowd arrived with a little help from Brazil License Branch Manager Georgia Day on Tuesday.
Drivers need to know --
The Clay City License Branch will be open Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
The public should remember there is a $4 convenience fee for each transaction handled at the branch. These funds will be used to supplement the cost of operations during the year-long pilot program.
At first there was a trickle of customers, then, when new technology presented some minor problems, lines began to form at the Clay City License Branch re-opening Tuesday morning.
Closed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on Oct. 22, the BMV branch re-opening was made possible by the Clay County Commissioners and a petition signed by 2,300 residents.
The state agreed on Feb. 5 to a one-year trial program. The county will run the facility on behalf of the state while charging a convenience fee of $4 per transaction to supplement the expenses to operate the branch.
But some patrons were frustrated about waiting Tuesday.
"I'm glad it is here, but if the equipment isn't ready yet, why even open it at all," said one customer who didn't want to be identified. "I've been here three times today and I'm not waiting any more. I'll try again some other time."
Others were more patient.
"I believe this branch will be very beneficial to the community," Richard Harden, of Saline City, said after waiting more than 30 minutes. "Mine was an unusual situation, but they were really nice about it."
Then there were those who found humor in the situation.
"I really hope they get to keep the branch open here," Bill Briggs said. "I much prefer waiting in a line with four people here then waiting in line with 20 people in Brazil."
Reports from disgruntled customers of long lines around the building were greatly exaggerated according to Clay County Commissioner Daryl Andrews. He said the facility was monitored throughout the day by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Indiana BMV officials told county commissioners Tuesday evening how the first day went.
The staff at the Clay City License Branch performed 41 transactions and answered customer questions throughout the day with an average wait time of 15 minutes, while the longest wait time for a customer was reported at just over 40 minutes.
"Like any new business opening, there are glitches the first day," Andrews said during a telephone interview Tuesday evening. "The state has provided the Clay City branch with new wireless technology and the software is having difficulty working in the area. The computers are slow, but even with the glitch they will still be able to handle 95 percent of customer transactions at the branch."
After closing time, Branch Manager Staci Dickey told The Brazil Times there were no major problems during the day, but it was a unique learning experience.
"I kind of had to learn the hard way," she said, laughing at her battle with slow computer connections and minor printer problems. "It was a steady pace of customers all day. They were all very pleasant and patient. I was really pleased with the turn out we had."
Clay County Commissioner Charlie Brown was excited about the communities support.
"I thought it was a tremendous first day. We exceeded our projections of customer transactions," he said. "As for the problems, we'll keep tweaking and things will get better. I'm very optimistic that this is going to work."