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Aldermen Turn Attention To Vehicle Sticker Fees At Budget Hearings

Chicago City Sticker (CBS)

Chicago City Sticker (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – In a second day of city budget hearings at City Hall, aldermen turned their focus to the Emanuel administration’s proposal to increase fees for city vehicle stickers, as City Clerk Susana Mendoza urged them to go after sticker scofflaws instead.

As WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mendoza has opposed the mayor’s plans to raise fees for vehicle stickers for larger passenger vehicles and to make more cars qualify for the higher fee.

Mendoza told aldermen she doesn’t favor the mayor’s plan, because studies show they don’t have much more impact on roads than more average sized cars.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

The Emanuel administration has suggested lowering the threshold for “larger passenger vehicles” from 4,500 pounds to 4,000 pounds. Critics have said that would include such cars as the Ford Taurus, as opposed to just large SUVs and vans. The mayor also wants to increase the sticker fee for those vehicles from $120 to $135.

But it would mean a jump of $60 for motorists whose vehicles would now qualify as larger passenger vehicles. Officials have estimated nearly 200,000 more vehicles in Chicago would qualify as larger vehicles under the mayor’s proposal

Mendoza also pointed out the city already has different classes of city stickers for various types of vehicles.

“I’m opposed to bringing in additional … close to 200,000 people who currently drive, what in many cases are just regular vehicles,” Mendoza said.

She said she’d prefer to go after scofflaws who don’t buy city stickers with higher fines and stricter enforcement. She has suggested increasing the fine for failure to purchase a vehicle sticker from $120 to $200.

“From an issue of fairness, we’re already asking people to pay their fair share and many people do. I think we should focus on those folks who are not paying their fair share at all,” Mendoza said.

Several aldermen have sided with Mendoza, but Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said the city sticker fee is an impact fee and would be fair.

“This vehicle sticker increase would generate about $15 million and the lion’s share of that money would be directly invested in improving our roads and infrastructure,” Reilly said.

But he also said that going after scofflaws is a good idea.