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Our View: DMV offices may close as state budget ax falls

All roads point to Hudson.

It's an important fact to know for future customers of the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles.

Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed the closing of several local service centers that apparently don't serve enough customers to warrant continuation.

Among the offices being considered for closure are New Richmond and Amery locations. The sites have infrequent monthly hours as it is, so their elimination is the next step.

The scaling back of local service centers is a process that has been going on for the past 10 years.

Drivers once were able to take their driver's tests locally, but that was cut out some time ago.

The local centers have since been available for basic DMV services that everyone faces from time to time. Now people's ability to renew their licenses or apply for a driver's permit close to home is in jeopardy.

We understand that the state budget is tight and officials need to find ways to save some bucks.

But we question the further consolidation of state services to one central office, such as Hudson. Why must people from many miles away be forced to travel to one location to conduct all of their driver's license and permitting business? Certainly the state can manage to find enough money to continue offering a few hours of service per month in our local communities, so residents who don't like heading to Hudson or other service centers aren't forced to do so. This is especially important for senior citizens and newer drivers who don't mesh well with the more urban challenges of motoring along Interstate 94.

It may be a tough sell to get state officials to change their mind on the subject. But if you're not thrilled with the loss of your DMV center, contact your legislators and voice your opinion.

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