Commissioners to impose car registration fee

By SARAH PAEZ

spaez@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — Residents of Clinton County who own vehicles may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

County commissioners are poised to add a $5 fee to all motorized vehicles registered in the county, which they will use for transportation purposes. The fee applies to all new vehicle registrations, all registration renewals and registration transfers.

The fee will officially go into effect Nov. 15, about three months after commissioners intend to adopt the ordinance on Aug. 9.

At several county meetings, commissioners explained that for all the money the county collects through registration fees, the state will pull matching funds from the Department of Transportation reserve to use for road projects. The funds in that reserve are used for the same things that liquid fuels funds are–stabilizing, paving and resurfacing roadways and controlling erosion.

The $5 transportation fee will be tacked on to the $32 state car registration renewal fee, said commissioners.

“There’s an expectation of having good roads,” said Commissioner Jeff Snyder of his choice to support the fee implementation.

“We’ve all agreed there is a need (for the fee),” said Commissioner Pete Smeltz, echoing Snyder.

Commissioner Paul Conklin said he felt better that schoolchildren would be traveling on safer roads once the county gets a chance to use the money generated from the registration fees.

In 2015, the state government left it up to counties to impose a $5 motor vehicle registration fee that they could collect to use for transportation.

Centre and Lycoming counties already have already adopted the fee, said commissioners, so Clinton County is simply following suit.

“I know I’ll hear a lot of complaints (about the fee), if you want me to be honest,” said Janaan Maggs, legislative aide to State Rep. Mike Hanna (D-Lock Haven) at Thursday’s commissioners meeting.

The $5 fee also applies to motorcycle, motor home, trailer and RV registration. All-terrain vehicles and boats are exempt from the fee because their registrations go through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Fish and Boat Commission, respectively.

Municipal government vehicles are not subject to registration fees.

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