|By G. Michael Dobbs|
BOSTON – If the prospect of the Chicopee office of the registry of Motor Vehicles (RVM) closing worries, the advice from area legislators is stop worrying. In fact, the prospect may not be actually concerning people.
James Warren, aide to state Sen. Gale Candaras said, “We haven’t had a flood of calls [about the plan].” He added that at this point, a closure is a “non-issue.”
A proposed long-range organizational plan was recently released that included the possibility of closing the Chicopee office and shifting many Registry services on-line.
Warren added that Candaras “would fight [a closing] tooth and nail.”
In a group statement, Candaras, Sen. James Welch and Sen. Michael Knapik, all of whom represent Chicopee, said they had contacted Registrar Rachel Kaprielian about the proposal and were informed the proposal was one of several ideas that would consolidate RMV offices around the state sometime in the future.
“While it is understandable that more and more RMV services will be moved online as residents become more tech-savvy, the Registry must keep in mind that many of our seniors and residents who cannot afford Internet services are unable to access the RMV online. With the dismal parking situation at the Springfield branch, many Western Massachusetts residents rely heavily upon the Chicopee branch. For now, the proposal is on the shelf. However, we will remain vigilant on any developments related to the Chicopee RMV. We will staunchly stand together in opposition of any plan to close that office in the coming years,” Candaras said.
Welch told Reminder Publications, “Any time you see a long term strategic plan … that includes closings of branches or consolidation we as legislators get concerned.”
Welch added the plan is “not something on the immediate horizon.”
Welch noted that two RMV offices, Springfield and Chicopee, serve Hampden County, which has the highest population in the four county western region.
He acknowledged that because “the reality is not many people like going to the Registry to do business” they are willing to go online.
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