by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (January 29, 2018) – The recent discussion and impending vote on raising the price of vehicle stickers raised questions about motor vehicle policy and enforcement within the village.
Lansing’s Municipal Code is available via the Village website—hovering over the About Lansing tab will bring up a menu that includes a Code of Ordinances item. Clicking that item will open a new site where all of Lansing’s codes are arranged by chapter and article. Chapter 38 concerns Traffic and Motor Vehicles. Article IV within that chapter concerns Registration and Licenses.
Information in Article IV includes defining what a motor vehicle is, explaining when the requirements apply, enacting a reduced fee for senior citizens, and more. For example, the vehicle sticker requirement is worded as follows:
Every person residing within the village, or who houses a vehicle or vehicles within the village, or whose principal offices are within the village, shall pay to the village clerk each year a tax or license fee for the use of each motor vehicle used on any public street or highway in the village. Every person shall pay the village clerk each year a tax or license fee for the use of each motorbus or motor coach used on any regularly scheduled service on any public street or highway in the village. The provisions of this section do not apply to buses or motor coaches operated by village corporations.
As clarified by the Village, this means the fee is not based on the residency of the owner, or the registration of the vehicle, but on where a vehicle is “housed” and “used.”
Deputy Chief Rick Slough, of the Lansing Police Department, further explained, “All vehicles in the Village of Lansing are required to have a vehicle sticker displayed at all times. Stickers must be displayed on any motor vehicle operated by a Lansing resident on a public street or highway within the Village. Stickers also must be displayed on any motor vehicle that is not in use but is kept or stored within the Village. Leased and company-owned vehicles also are required to have vehicle stickers.”
Enforcing the code
Slough oversees the Lansing Police Department’s Field Services Division. Since vehicle stickers are sold in May and due on windshields in June, each July 1 Slough notifies the patrol division to begin conducting “sticker checks” throughout the entire town. “With this notice, I also attach a map of the entire town.” said Slough. “Officers are assigned specific areas. When a violation is observed, they write a citation and hang it on the windshield of the offending vehicle. Shift Commanders keep track of what was covered by highlighting the completed area on the map. This continues until the entire map is highlighted, indicating that the entire town was covered. Typically, I give the officers about 4 or 5 weeks to complete this task.”
The process is repeated in mid-September. In addition, Slough encourages his officers year-round to locate sticker violations and write citations as part of their regular patrol duties.
In 2017, a total of 16,591 vehicle stickers were purchased in Lansing, for vehicles of all types. That year, LPD wrote 934 village sticker violations.
In 2016, 17,966 vehicle stickers were purchased in Lansing for vehicles of all types, and LPD wrote 980 village sticker violations.
The typical fine for a sticker violation is $25.00.
Other sticker fee facts
According to the Illinois Vehicle code, the revenue generated by vehicle sticker fees is intended to be used for the repair and maintenance of streets.
The last time Lansing’s sticker fees were raised was in 2008, near the end of Dan Podgorski’s second term as Mayor.
The last time Lansing’s vehicle code was amended was in 2013. That amendment clarified the definition of “motor vehicle” and addressed the reduced fee for senior citizens.
So at $25.00 a citation x over 900 citations for 2 years would be close to 50k. That’s not huge money for street repair but it would have helped ALOT. Hmmmmm
Per comments by the Village Administrator “Certainly while increasing fees is not something that we desire to do,” said Village Administrator Dan Podgorski at the January 16 Committee of the Whole meeting, “sometimes it’s necessary to maintain the levels of service that residents expect from Lansing. …There’s a multitude of capital improvements that we need throughout the village.” The examples Podgorski listed include the police fleet, fire engines, ambulances, the Public Works fleet, and a server upgrade for the police department. It appears the money would be used for other than the designated purpose i.e. street maintenance. Our cul-de-sac was torn up 3 plus years ago and HAS NOT been paved since. There is NO pavement on approximately 1/3 of the circle and it gets larger each time it’s snow plowed and a trash disposal truck turns inside the circle.
The last time the sticker fee was doubled from $15.00 to $30.00 we were told the reason was for road repairs. I was all for it at the time even though we had 3 cars. The streets in my area are in horrible condition and getting worse. (Ridge to 185th and between Chicago and School)
I would be less opposed if street improvements would come from the additional revenue, but sadly we need far more than what this will raise. WHAT amount of time is being invested in revenue to deal with deteriorating streets??
Comments are closed.