On Monday, the Clay County Commissioners unanimously voted to officially close the branch, which had reopened in February 2006.
Initially, the branch had been closed by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in October 2005, but the commissioners, along with the assistance of a petition signed by 2,300 residents, help open the doors again.
However, conditions came with the reopening.
The branch reopened with the county running the facility on behalf of the state by providing staff, funding all costs and charging a $4 convenience fee per transaction to supplement the operating expenses.
At the time, the Clay County Council also stipulated that no county funds would be used to subsidize the branch, which received a monthly contribution from the BMV totaling $13,500 annually, along with initial up-front funding.
After netting a profit in both 2006 and 2007, the branch has seen its annual revenue from transactions decline, creating a growing net loss ($3,230 in 2008, $6,566 in 2009 and $7,406 through Aug. 30, 2010) along the way.
"The BMV is encouraging customers to do business by phone, Internet and mail services, which continues to decrease the income for the operation of the branch," Commissioner Paul Sinders told The Brazil Times. "I, along with fellow commissioners Jack Withers and Charlie Brown, hate to close the local branch in Clay City, but without adequate income, the branch cannot continue to operate."
Possible closure of the branch originated during county budget hearings in September 2009, when revenue and expense trends showed that the branch was falling into a bigger hole financially.
In recent months, Sinders has stayed in close contact with the state BMV attempting to secure additional funding for the local branch to continue operations.
In addition, other factors took place which led to the decision to close the branch.
"While the branch has always had a full-time manager and part-time assistant, new requirements were established by the state BMV stating all branches must have at least two full-time employees," Sinders said. "Even with a $1 increase in the transaction fee, it would not be enough to offset the cost of an additional full-time employee at the branch."
During Monday's meeting, Sinders said he is in the process of canceling all services and utilities, which will be effective Dec. 31, but work to complete the closure will begin before then.
"The last day to conduct business at the Clay City branch will be Wednesday, Dec. 22," Sinders said. "Although it is normally closed on Wednesdays, it will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on that day to assist citizens who need end of year license plates, titles and registrations."
The state BMV will be removing all of its equipment the last week of December, with the county to remove its equipment shortly after.
Those who have been using the Clay City License Branch may now utilize another branch in the state, including those open in Brazil, Linton and Spencer. In addition, many transactions may be completed online at https://myweb.in.gov/BMV/mybmvportal/, or by phone through the BMV Customer Service Center at 1-888-692-6841. Vehicle registration transactions may also be completed through the mail.
"The commissioners appreciate the support of the people who worked to reopen the branch in 2006, along with those who have used the branch the past five years," Sinders said. "We also appreciate the great work and dedication all the employees have done working for the Clay City License Branch."