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Waukegan vehicle sticker fee increased

Waukegan city sticker for 2012.

Waukegan city sticker for 2012.

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Updated: February 21, 2012 1:55AM

WAUKEGAN — The city’s quest for new revenue during its continuing financial doldrums will extend to vehicle stickers in 2012, with fees increasing $5 for passenger cars and motorcycles.

In addition, the City Council voted this week to increase water and sewer rates, the proceeds of which have been used in the recent past to offset overall revenue shortfalls.

For residents who pay a combined water-and-sewer service fee, the current rate of $3.70 for the first 10,000 gallons will go up to $3.89 on May 1, 2012, and to $4.08 on May 1, 2013. The fee for water service alone will rise from the current $2.28 for the first 10,000 gallons to $2.39 in May 2012 and $2.51 in May 2013.

In a report to the council, finance director Tina Smigielski wrote that the city’s water and sewer fund ended the last fiscal year with a “healthy reserve; however, the city was forced to allocate a significant portion of those monies to fill the multi-million dollar deficit in the General Fund.”

She added that the city’s water system has “aging infrastructure” and increased operational costs. “These factors have prompted the need to review our current rate structure to ensure the continued health of the Water and Sewerage Fund,” she said.

Regarding the vehicle stickers, a measure approved Monday by the council states that residents purchasing between Feb. 15 and March 31 — long before the current sticker’s expiration date of April 30 — will be able to pay the 2011 rate.

But those purchasing between April 1 and April 30 must pay the increased rate, and those who miss the deadline will no longer have a 30-day grace period and must pay twice the normal amount. The previous late penalty was 50 percent of the total cost.

According to city finance officials, in the current fiscal year, Waukegan issued 22,000 vehicle stickers that generated approximately $965,000. The last sticker increase was enacted in 2007.

The new rates will hike the cost of a sticker for passenger cars from $40 to $45, with a late penalty of $90. Motorcycles jump from $25 to $30, with a late penalty of $60.

For seniors aged 65 or older, residents with a 60 percent disability and active military, the cost of a first sticker will go up from $4 to $5, with a $10 late fee. The cost of a second sticker for those categories goes from $20 to $25, with a $50 late fee.

Increases in truck fees range from an additional $5 for those weighing 3,000 pounds or less to an additional $12 for those weighing more than 24,000 pounds. Motor coaches and buses will also see $10 increases.

City officials report that renewals may be done by mail (by post-mark date), in-person at City Hall or in-person at specific currency exchanges before April 30.

Also on Monday, the council voted informally to select an image of the lakefront’s Stiner Pavilion for the 2012 sticker. Taken by local photographer Jay Stephen, the image shows a sunset performance by the Waukegan Municipal Band.

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