The Governing Body adopted an ordinance to reinstate vehicle decals on June 4, 2019, following a public hearing that was held on May 28, 2019. The decision was based on a study by the City Manager that showed that the City was losing a substantial amount of revenue each year as a result of a decision made in 2017 to remove the requirement for residents to display decals on their vehicles as evidence of having paid the required vehicle license fees. The decision to not require the display of vehicle decals was made in 2017 based on anecdotal evidence from other, larger jurisdictions that they had not seen a noticeable loss of revenue from doing so. It was also felt that there were other City data available for cross-checking to ensure compliance with the vehicle license fee requirement, as well as information received from the DMV. Unfortunately, this did not prove to be sufficient. The City Manager also found that other smaller jurisdictions, such as Falls Church and Fairfax, had retained their decals, largely because they had predicted that there would be a substantial loss of revenue.
The new ordinance requires residents to get a new decal each year no later than October 5. Vehicles that are purchased on or after September 5 of each year will be issued a new decal for the upcoming license year (October 6 through the following October 5); vehicles that are purchased prior to September 5 will be issued a decal for that license year and will still need to get a new decal for the new fiscal year. Residents who move into the City have thirty days to pay their license taxes and place decals on their vehicles.
The new ordinance did not change the amount of the vehicle license fees, which are as follows:
· $30.00 for every vehicle other than a motorcycle, trailer or semitrailer—the decal should to be placed on the inside of the windshield to the right of the state inspection sticker;
· $16.00 for every motorcycle—the decal should be placed near the state safety inspection sticker or in another conspicuous location if there is no state inspection sticker; and
· $14.00 for every trailer, semitrailer or vehicle of like design—the decal should be placed near the state safety inspection sticker or in another conspicuous location if there is no state inspection sticker.
Provided that all property taxes have been paid on all vehicles owned by a resident, once payment of the vehicle license fee has been received by the City Treasurer, the decal will be mailed, if payment is received by mail, or can be picked up at the City Treasurer’s office, if payment is made in person.
Enforcement of the new decal requirement will start on November 15, 2019. Information about the new decal requirement will be included with the personal property bills that will be mailed in August.