Friday, July 22, 2005

It is called BICK-null

The Vincennes Sun-Commercial has an editorial about the closure of the Bicknell BMV branch. I posted some time ago about some of the miscues of the current BMV administration when its courageous new leader of the BMV announced branch closures just a few days after the 2005 legislative session ended. A few weeks later they added new branches to the list and one of the new closures was the branch in the dying southwestern Indiana city of Bicknell.

Bicknell is near Vincennes in Knox County and was once prosperous mining town after World War I. Its fortune has changed though the decades as has the rest of the region. Now nine out of the ten poorest Indiana counties are in southern Indiana. According to the 2000 US census, more families in Knox County live below the poverty line than any other county in the state. The center of this poverty belt is in Bicknell where almost 37% of children under 18 and adults over 65 live below the poverty level.

The editorial at its strongest argues that the Daniel's administration does not realize that government's main goal is not to be profitable but to provide services to its citizens. Bicknell has a large indigent and elderly population thatdoes not have the means to travel to the nearest branch or use the internet to acquire BMV services.

The branch workers have offered several solutions such as reducing its staff by not replacing a retiring worker or assuming more responsibilities with mail-in orders in order to save the branch . The landlord has generously offered to reduce his rent in half because he knows how important the branch is to the local merchant community. The license branch is one of the main reasons that people come to Bicknell from other nearby towns and these trips do make a oositive impact on the economy. These ideas were brought before BMV Commissioner Silverman at a community meeting, but any hope was quickly dashed as according to the Vincennes Sun-Commercial he did not even bother to learn how to pronounce Bicknell correctly.

Governor Daniels was once named "The Blade" by the current President for his ability to cut budgets. He will wield his knife on Bicknell and the community will suffer. The Governor will be able to say to the rest of the state that he saved a few thousand dolllars from the state's ledger sheet, but there will be a greater cost to Bicknell that is immeasurable by any accounting standard.

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