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County criticizes plan to close Brawley office

August 15, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Long-range plans by the state to close the Brawley office of the Department of Motor Vehicles were criticized by the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

It was disclosed at the meeting by county Executive Officer Ann Capela that the state's plan is to build a new center and close Brawley's office.

Rumors have it the new location will be a 17-acre parcel near Costco Wholesale in El Centro.

The supervisors unanimously approved a resolution against the closure of the Brawley office. The resolution emphasizes the large size of the county and the long distances people would have to drive to conduct business at DMV.

It states, "The decision to consolidate these two current undersized locations with a single consolidated facility will cause many residents of the county to be considerably disadvantaged when they find it necessary to conduct business with the Department of Motor Vehicles due to the considerable increased distances they will have to travel."

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District 5 Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said the Brawley office serves as a "relief valve" to the crowded conditions in El Centro.

"With the lines extending all the way out the door, it's very important that the state maintain the office open in the Northend," he said.

Bob Ham, speaking for Assemblyman Dave Kelley, R-La Quinta, said the state considers both facilities as too small for the amount of business being carried out at each. He said Kelley will contact the appropriate DMV officials to lend his support to the supervisors' resolution.

Ham said it will take the state a couple years to actually make the change because the change will have to be budgeted. He suggested the overcrowding locally can be to alleviated through longer hours and to open Saturdays.

DMV spokesman Ron Owens said the issue is in the "early, early stages."

"No decision has been made," he said. "We're looking at all possibilities."

Owens added that before any decision is made the department will consult with local officials.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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