County Clerk: New License Plates Not A Sure Thing

By: Shawn Magrath

County clerk: new license plates not a sure thing

CHENANGO COUNTY – The Chenango County Clerk's Office is voicing uncertainty over a statewide initiative that's allowing New Yorkers to choose the state's new license plate design.

County Clerk Mary Weidman told members of the county's Safety and Rules Committee on Wednesday that the contest has gray area that's currently being challenged by clerks across the state, mostly due to fees attached to Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to update aging license plates.

“I don't know if it's really going to happen,” said Weidman, recalling similar efforts spearheaded by former Gov. David Paterson in 2009 in which the legislature shot down a proposal to use a new license plate replacement fee to bolster the state budget.

“There's a lot of actions that are still pending,” Weidman added. “Clerks are arguing with it.”

Cuomo announced this week that New Yorkers can vote for one of five proposed designs, three of which feature the Statue of Liberty and one depicting the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (formerly the Tappan Zee Bridge). The winning design will become the state's official license plate available in 2020.

Critics slam the proposal because unlike the state's switch to the current gold and blue design a decade ago, the latest switch comes with a mandatory $25 license plate replacement fee for registered vehicles with plates that are 10-years-old or older (estimated to be 3 million statewide). That's on top of the cost of registration renewal.

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