Characterizing its residents and businesses as being “appalled, shocked and dismayed at the arbitrary decision,” Radcliff City Council unanimously endorsed a resolution Tuesday critical of the closure of the county clerk’s annex.

The office at 210 Freedom Way has been closed in recent days because of a power outage related to the ice storm and subsequent computer network issue.

Once AT&T resolves the modem issue service will resume temporarily, County Clerk Debbie Donnelly said. But it’s scheduled to be shuttered for good Nov. 30, according to Donnelly, who exercised a 60-day cancellation clause to discontinue her office’s lease of the building.

The resolution, which the council adopted without comment, is critical of the decision as an affront to taxpayers and said it disregards the needs of automobile dealers and military personnel, who will be unable to use their authorized lunch breaks to leave Fort Knox to handle registrations.

“I think the City of Radcliff is not being treated fairly,” Mayor Mike Weaver said in introducing the formal resolution at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Weaver, whose term as mayor ends next month, warned he fears this decision is a precursor to further reduction in county services in northern Hardin County.

Donnelly has said the office was established in deference to Radcliff’s dramatic population growth in the 1970s and based on heavy usage from soldiers when Fort Knox was the Home of Armor. In the intervening years, Kentucky has introduced registration by mail and online registration options, which doesn’t require residents to visit an office — assuming they do not owe overdue taxes.

Donnelly, who operates the office on an annual budget of roughly $2 million, said financial pressures related to increased pension costs led her to look for savings.

Radcliff city government has leased the building, which sits behind City Hall and adjacent to police headquarters, to the clerk for $7,200 annually.

Donnelly plans to transfer the four deputy clerks assigned to the annex to the main office in order to expedite service and create efficiencies in the county seat. A fifth, budgeted position at the annex, which has been vacant since September, will be eliminated as additional savings, Donnelly said Tuesday.

She also has said the building lacks suitable handicap access and has no public restrooms. Those issue have been characterized as excuses by some critics because the building has been virtually unchanged in the four decades the clerk’s office has occupied it.

The annex offers vehicle and boat registration only. The clerk’s office in the County Government Building also provides real estate, voter registration and passport issuance.

The resolution concludes by saying Weaver and the council, representing 23,000 Radcliff residents oppose the closure “in the strongest possible terms.”

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

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