Fox River Grove officials have agreed to end the village's vehicle sticker program and intend to make up for the lost revenue by adding a $36 annual fee to residents' water bills.
The program, a mainstay since the 1960s, generated between $61,000 and $65,000 a year, Village Administrator Karl Warwick said. But it's also become a hassle because it ties up staff time at village hall and at the police department, he said.
Last week, the board voted 4-3 to pursue the program's elimination. But it won't be official until the village board approves the ordinance in January.
The village was looking at options to increase its efficiency and eliminating the sticker program was one of the ways to do that, Warwick said.
Only two to three police officers patrol the village typically, and they have more important duties than hunting down vehicle sticker violators, Warwick said.
As well, the five-person village hall staff must deal with issuing the stickers each year. Moreover, it's an inconvenience for residents to visit village hall to buy the sticker once a year.
Stickers for passenger and recreational vehicles are $20, while the sticker is $10 for motorcycles. Residents who were 65 years and older are allowed to buy one sticker for $2 for a passenger vehicle and $20 for each additional one. Violators would have to pay a $25 ticket.
If the board approves the ordinance in January, residents will see a higher water bill during the May/June billing cycle. A typical household would pay an extra $36, while seniors would pay an additional $18. The fee will appear on the water bill once a year and the village is expected to make about the same amount as it did through the sticker program.
"I'd much rather pay my fee and not have to deal with putting stickers on my car," said Trustee Steve Knar, who voted for the proposal. "Quite frankly there's 30 percent of people who don't buy stickers and now they're going to have to pay."
But Trustee Gerald Menzel, who voted against the proposal, has a problem with charging the extra fee during the summer months, when water usage is at its peak.
"I just thought that they could have left it the way it was," Menzel said. "The water is high enough as it is and it would get people annoyed."