The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is planning to close the Hope license branch July 25 and consolidate operations with its nearby branch in Columbus.
The bureau will have a meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Hauser High School auditorium to hear public comment about its plan.
Josh Gillespie, the bureau’s deputy commissioner for communications, said the agency has been considering the move for a few months.
The Hope branch, 611 Harrison St., was under review about 10 years ago when the bureau closed a number of other branches, he said.
Meetings were fairly heated the last time license branch closures were proposed across the state, Gillespie said.
Hope Town Marshal Matthew Tallent said a Hope police officer will be at tonight’s meeting at the request of the bureau as a precaution.
Gillespie said the bureau hasn’t received any comments about the proposed closing so far, even though a notice about the meeting has been posted since Friday. The agency put the notice up early to give people in Hope ample opportunity to voice their thoughts, he said.
“We don’t want to spring it on anybody,” Gillespie said. “We want to be pretty up front about it.”
People who use the branch will have options, he said. Customers may conduct most transactions through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles website. When they need to go to a branch in person, there are three nearby — in Columbus, Edinburgh and Shelbyville.
The consolidation won’t cause people at the Hope branch to lose their jobs, he said. The Hope branch is staffed by bureau employees from the Columbus, Shelbyville and Greensburg license branches on the two days it is open — Wednesdays and Fridays.
People who attend tonight’s meeting will receive a sheet with answers to frequently asked questions.
Gillespie said that, while BMV Commissioner Don Snemis might speak for a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting, the focus tonight is on public comment.