If you’re a Riverside resident who owns a trailer and recently received a letter saying you needed to fork over $90 for a vehicle sticker – for this year and last year – you can hereby ignore that warning.
On June 20, Riverside trustees agreed that requiring vehicles stickers for trailers was unnecessary and that it would be removed from the vehicle sticker ordinance. At the same time, trustees also decided that the vehicle sticker fee would be waived for all disabled veterans and former prisoners of war.
Anyone meeting those criteria who have already paid for the stickers will receive information from the village on how to obtain a refund, and will have the vehicle sticker fee waived in the future.
However, the jury is still out on whether the village board will move to reduce vehicle sticker fees for motorcycles, scooters and antique vehicles or give a discount to senior citizens and active-duty members of the military.
Any such discounts would not apply to vehicle stickers that need to be purchased this year. The village board will revisit whether they want to move ahead with any more changes to the fee structure in the fall, when they discuss the village’s 2020 operating budget.
By that time, said Riverside Finance Director Karin Johns, she can research the financial impact of offering lower fees in some instances.
“We could come to the board during the budget process with options about this,” Johns said. “We don’t have much data on seniors, so that would be a difficult budget calculation to give.”
There were some indications, however, that there might not be support for additional discounts unless officials can identify other sources to replace the loss of that vehicle sticker revenue.
Trustee Doug Pollock said that while the village could carve out discounts for senior citizens and active military service members, for example, the village really can’t afford to significantly reduce the revenue it receives from the sale of vehicle stickers.
The village in recent years has collected more than $500,000 annually in vehicle sticker fees. This year, the village used information collected from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to identify vehicles registered to Riverside addresses in order to capture fees from as many vehicles as possible.
“We can’t afford to reduce the overall revenue of this program,” Pollock said. “So that means any cut we make … has to be made up with an increase somewhere else. The fact is, this is a significant revenue producer for the village.”
While the revenue lost by waiving the fee for trailers, which hasn’t been enforced for years, and for disabled veterans, which is expected to be nominal, adding other discounts would begin adding up.
Some trustees, including Pollock, Wendell Jisa and Elizabeth Peters, said they’d accept an increase in vehicle sticker fees for the general population in order to offer discounts to seniors.
Trustee Edward Hannon, however, said he didn’t favor increasing the vehicle sticker fee in order to offset other discounts.
“I think $90 is a high fee,” said Hannon. “I think we all acknowledge, though, that the village needs to fund the services they provide. … It is a frighteningly lean budget on what we need to do, so I would be against further discounts.”
Candice Grace, a former Riverside trustee, also warned against applying too many discounts for vehicle stickers. Grace was a member of the village board that voted to raise the vehicle sticker fee to $90 from $65, a decision that brought in much-needed revenue in the wake of a national economic recession following the 2008 crash.
“It’s a significant source of revenue, so don’t carve out too much,” said Grace, who added if the board did seek further discounts, the fee would have to go up for everyone else.