No more free passes on late car registration

Few Colorado motorists look forward to paying their license fees, but the worst thing they can do in the coming years is put off the inevitable.

Mesa County Clerk Janice Rich has posted charts of “add-on” fees at motor-vehicles offices showing how much more drivers will pay to get their vehicles on the roads.

The add-ons were contained in Senate Bill 108, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Ritter this spring to raise money for roads and bridges.

Motorists who see the add-on chart already are grumbling, Rich said.

“People are going to be a little bit shocked” when they see how much more they’ll have to pay, she said.

As hard as the new registration fees might be to swallow, more difficult will be the new late fees and the inability of clerks to waive them, Rich said.

“Oh my goodness,” she said, “we’re going to have to get bullet-proof vests.”

That’s hyperbole, she said, but the clerk’s office did speed up security measures that would otherwise have been installed later at the motor-vehicles offices.

State law now sets a $10 per month late fee and gives clerks latitude to waive them.

Not so come July. Late fees then jump to $25 per month, up to a maximum of $100.

Worse, Rich said, lollygaggers won’t get any breaks.

The Clerk’s Office has charged $483,000 in $10 late fees since 2006 and has waived the fees
in some cases, such as late mail deliveries or instances of duress, she said.

No more waivers will be allowed, she said. The late fees go into effect in July, meaning motorists who fail to pay their April registration fees until then will get no breaks from the clerk and will pay the $25 fee for each month they are late, she said.

“Please don’t be late” with vehicle-registration payments, Rich pleaded. “These are not payments we want to collect.”

The add-ons aren’t the only increases motorists will see on their bills.

A bill awaiting Ritter’s signature will add $1 to each registration for an emergency medical fund, and there is a 35-cent payment for peace-officer training.

Motorists should do all they can to pay their registrations on time, Rich said.


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