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Vehicle stickers grace period over; Saturday renewal hours added

Changes to the city vehicle sticker program approved Monday will go easier on motorists who can't pay the $90 fee all at once. Starting next year, there will be a four-month sticker; an amnesty program is being added as well. | Natalie Watts/For the Sun-Times

The grace period for motorists who haven’t purchased their new city vehicle stickers ended Friday.

That means if your sticker expired Thursday, you “are eligible to be ticketed immediately following” the expiration date, according to a news release from City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s office.

To accommodate those drivers, the City Clerk’s office will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The special Saturday hours are “a courtesy for people who are unaware of the change and because the office will not be open [Monday] on the Fourth of July,” said Kevin Derrig, project manager at the City Clerk’s office.

Sticker prices range from $45.89 for a motorcycle to $458.95 for larger trucks. Stickers for most cars and minivans will cost $86.69, though some larger trucks and vans will cost $137.69. Qualifying seniors can buy one discounted sticker per year for $30.59.

For years, drivers were given 15-day grace periods on both ticketing and late fees because until May 2014, all vehicle stickers had June renewals, Derrig said.

The uniform June renewals resulted in extremely long lines at the clerk’s office, he said. But with the advent of year-round sticker sales, the renewal lines became much more manageable.

The City Council decided in the fall of 2014 to remove the 15-day grace period on ticketing vehicles with expired stickers, he said. At the same time, the council increased the grace period on late fees from 15 days to 30. That longer grace period on late renewal fees “makes the burden easier on the taxpayer,” Derrig said. Drivers who have just received a $200 ticket won’t also be immediately slapped with a $60 late fee.

West Side resident Diana Nelson renewed her vehicle sticker on Friday, the day it expired. “My car’s at home,” Nelson said; she didn’t drive it, just to be absolutely sure she avoideda $200 ticket.

For motorists with expired June stickers who cannot make it to one of three clerk’s office locations by noon on Saturday, there are other options.

“We have a bunch of vendors,” Derrig said. Currency exchanges, for example, sell city vehicle stickers. But he warned that non-clerk’s office vendors can attach an additional fee of up to $5.50 to the cost of the renewal.