COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Vehicle Decal Ordinance

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Public hearing to consider proposed ordinance to amend County Code Chapter 9, Motor Vehicles and Traffic, Article IV, County Vehicle Licenses to replace the current annual vehicle decal with a permanent vehicle decal and to replace the current annual vehicle license fee with an annual vehicle license tax of the same amount.  

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Davis, Herrick, Wiggans, Correa; Ms. White

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

December 7, 2005

 

 

ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:     Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

At its October 5, 2005 meeting, the Board received information about recent developments in vehicle licensing and decals in other Virginia localities.  A copy of the October 5, 2005 Executive Summary is attached (Attachment B).  Specifically, as the prior report indicates, a growing number of localities are either replacing annual vehicle decals with permanent decals, or are eliminating vehicle decals altogether as a convenience to their citizens.  Following its review of this information, the Board directed staff to prepare a proposal to replace annual vehicle decals with permanent decals.

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

4.2: Fund County services in a fair, efficient manner and improve needed public facilities and infrastructure.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

In response to the Board’s direction, staff has prepared a proposed ordinance to revise and update the County vehicle license ordinance (Attachment A).

 

First, under the proposed ordinance, a permanent vehicle decal would replace the annual vehicle decals currently issued.  All vehicles with a valid license as of December 31, 2005 will receive replacement permanent decals (Sec. 9-403(A)).  Purchasers of new vehicles and new residents of the County would be required, as now, to obtain a County license decal within thirty (30) days of the purchase or of their move into the County (Sec. 9-403(C)).  Instead of expiring annually, the permanent vehicle decal would remain valid as long as (1) the vehicle was normally garaged, stored, or parked in the County and owned by the licensee, and (2) all license taxes assessed against the vehicle owner had been paid (Sec. 9-409).

 

Second, the proposed ordinance would also replace the current annual vehicle license fee with an annual vehicle license tax of the same amount (Sec. 9-400).  This is a change in terminology, not in amount (Sec. 9-404), that more accurately describes the charge authorized by state law.

 

Third, the proposed ordinance would clarify the pro-ration of both new and discontinued licenses.  Licenses for both new vehicles and new residents would be pro-rated from the beginning of the month in which the license tax first became due (Sec. 9-405).  Refunds for discontinued licenses likewise would be pro-rated on a monthly basis (Sec. 9-406).

 

Fourth, a number of other technical changes are proposed to bring the County’s ordinance into greater conformity with state

law.  For example, the proposed ordinance replaces the former situs standard of “regularly housed or stored in the county” with the “normally garaged, stored or parked in the county” standard found in state law.

 

Most practices would remain unchanged under the new ordinance.  As previously noted, the amount of the license tax would not increase (Sec. 9-404).  This ordinance is being proposed primarily as a convenience to the citizens, to spare everyone the need to replace vehicle decals every year.

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

Beginning in January 2007, annual decals will no longer need to be mailed to vehicle owners. Expenditure savings to the County in the purchase of vehicle decals, envelopes, and postage is anticipated at approximately $47,000 annually.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

The proposed ordinance benefits both the citizens and the County.  Citizens will no longer have to replace their vehicle decals each year and the County realizes a cost savings by no longer having to mail thousands of decals each year.  After a public hearing, if the Board wishes to replace annual vehicle decals with a permanent decal, staff recommends the adoption of the attached ordinance.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Proposed Ordinance

B – Executive Summary from October 05, 2005

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