ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The closure of Rockford's only driver license facility on the West side of town has been a hot button issue lately and Thursday night residents had their chance to sound off.
A few dozen people showed up for the town hall meeting inside a very warm auditorium at Ellis Arts Academy. State Representative Chuck Jefferson hosted the event. Frustrated residents are demanding answers as to why the Secretary of State's Office decided to move the Auburn Street facility from the West-side to I-39 and Baxter Road. Secretary of State Jesse White was invited to the meeting but he didn't show. Rockford resident Glendeen Jarrett says she is upset about tonight turn out.
"I am very upset that Jesse White was suppose to be here and he didn't come. And I'm really upset that because there should be more people here today. I'm sure that you're upset, you're talking to your friends but you should come out to these meetings to let people know that you don't like what's going on," Jarrett said.
Those in attendance say they plan to start a petition to send to Springfield. Meantime, local leaders are working to make sure the West-side continues to get served. There's talk about opening a satellite branch at the the old IGA Grocery Store or the Singer Center.
The Illinois Secretary of State closed the Auburn Street DMV in July, but the replacement branch located 16 miles south on I-39 and Baxter road won't open until at least mid-September. This means long lines and frustrated customers in the meantime.
The State Street DMV now sees hundreds of customers a day. Some employees from the Auburn branch were moved to State Street to help with the overflow, but it's still pretty packed. City leaders are pushing for a third satellite branch to open somewhere on the city's west side to accommodate residents who feel like they've been cheated.
"I've been waiting for about an hour! It’s just been really busy lately so it seems like everybody needs to do a lot of things and they don't have enough people here to actually manage everybody that's come in all at once”, said Rockford resident Ramiro Carrero.
There's a town hall meeting tonight at Ellis Arts Academy on West State Street. State representative Chuck Jefferson has invited Secretary of State Jesse White to Rockford to answer questions from west side residents.
Chuck Jefferson also said they are considering the IGA grocery store and the sports store that's just across the street from Ellis Arts Academy, in addition to the Singer Center, as possible locations for a satellite branch. The meeting on August 2, 2012 is meant to clarify some of these details.