Doing Away With City Vehicle Registration Stickers

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

October 3, 2005

The little blue stickers that the city requires as part of your vehicle registration may soon become obsolete. Right now at City Hall, Charlottesville City counselors are ready to review a proposal that could make those little stickers a thing of the past.

The city is considering scrapping the annual car decals. Each year, car owners receive them in the mail and have to put them on the front of their car windshields. It is proof that car owners have paid their car property tax, but city counselors are wondering if there is a better way to handle this.

"They're just kind of a pain in the neck. They're real hard to come off, and sometime you have to use the lemon stuff to get take them off. So, I'd just as soon not have it," said driver Bill Morris.

Vehicle registration stickers can make a sticky mess, but some time soon you may not have to deal with them.

Right now if you don't have a sticker, you could get a ticket and the city could come after you for unpaid property taxes.

"Some people get a ticket because they just haven't remembered to put the sticker in their [car] window yet. They've been carrying. I've been guilty of that myself," said Charlottesville Mayor David Brown.

City councilors are considering whether to make things easier for drivers and just do away with the decals.

"It would mean we wouldn't have to mail out the decals. People wouldn't have to mail it back. It would save a lot of hassle," said Brown.

It would also save Charlottesville police some hassle.

Richmond, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Lynchburg have all scrapped the decals, so now enforcing the law is harder because officers have to check whether the vehicle is registered in another city.

"The absence of a sticker doesn't mean the car is not registered somewhere," said Brown.

Another good reason to get rid of the stickers is - it will save the city time and money. The city treasurer says it costs about $42,000 a year to print and mail the decals.

If they don't have to get the decals into drivers' hands then they can focus more attention on collecting those unpaid property taxes.

If city councilors vote to get rid of the stickers, they'll look for other ways to collect unpaid property taxes.

One suggestion is to prevent people from registering their cars until they pay up.

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