Richardville works to keep Milan Secretary of State Office open
In June, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced a plan that would consolidate the Milan Secretary of State office with the Ann Arbor branch to form a new Washtenaw County PLUS Office. The proposed PLUS and SUPER!Centers are designed to offer additional services that traditional offices cannot provide.
During the past few weeks, I have heard from city officials and local residents who are opposed to the office consolidation. The Milan City Council expressed its opposition to the consolidation by passing a resolution. I have also closely reviewed the proposed closure and personally discussed the issue with Secretary Land, passing along city residents' concerns as well as my own.
While I wholeheartedly agree that Michigan must make changes that will reform government operations and reduce spending, closing the Milan SOS office may not be in the best interest of the city or local residents.
Located 18 miles from the new spot, the current Milan office is much more convenient for local residents. I am particularly concerned for the senior citizens and those with disabilities who may already have difficulty visiting the Milan office. Traveling farther will make it increasingly difficult for these residents to obtain licenses or complete necessary paperwork. While this may not seem like a big deal for most, it could negatively affect the elderly or disabled.
In addition to the convenience, the Milan office operates efficiently and cost effectively for the residents in Monroe and Washtenaw counties. Residents receive high-quality, fast and friendly customer service from the staff and workers. In fact, the Milan office conducted 96,402 transactions for a total of $12.13 million in revenue, while the current Ann Arbor location had 131,357 transactions worth $13.87 million throughout the past year.
The Department of State has implemented several new programs that have benefited state residents by making it easier for them to conduct personal business - an increase in online services is an excellent example. These innovative technological advances are great cost-cutting measures. For those who have access to the Internet, this is a viable option. Yet again, this may not work for all state residents.
I am in favor of making budget cuts where necessary to help Michigan's troubling economy, but consolidating local SOS offices that provide greater convenience for local and rural residents is the wrong answer. I will work with Secretary Land to fight to keep this office open and to ensure residents will continue to have quick and easy access to services provided by the department.
There is no doubt that there would be savings as a result of the consolidation, but to what cost? It is imperative that proposed changes not harm Michigan taxpayers through greater inconveniences and reductions in service.
Toll-Free: (866) 556-7917
Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007
Print friendly version Email this page