EAST LIVERPOOL - Three special City Council meetings will be held over the next three days to rectify a mistake made in passage of legislation last summer that was supposed to impose an additional $5 fee on the cost of residents' license plates.
Meetings have been called for 3:30 p.m. today and at 7:30 a.m. both Monday and Tuesday, all in council chambers in City Hall.
Councilman Sherrie Curtis said the reason for the meetings is to pass new legislation that will enact an additional $5 on the cost of license plates for city residents, who actually should have begun paying that additional amount this year, starting in July.
According to Curtis, council passed an ordinance in July of 2011 enacting the fee, earmarking it for the street department's permissive fund so the estimated $45,000-$48,000 in additional annual revenue could be used for a variety of purposes. Those would include hot mix, cold mix, salt and equipment for street projects.
When Curtis went to get her own license plates renewed this week, she realized that the additional fee was not mentioned on her paperwork, and, with the assistance of Mayor Jim Swoger and his administrative assistant Robin Tokorchek, they tracked down some information that indicated the legislation had not been correctly enacted last year.
After the state Department of Motor Vehicles was faxed a copy of the ordinance, city officials learned the wrong section of state law was referenced in the legislation for enacting the additional fee.
In addition, council passed the legislation as an emergency measure, which is not permitted by law, the DMV advised.
The final reason the additional fee never went into effect was that the paperwork was filed too late with the state DMV, Curtis said, saying it needed to be filed by July 1 but was filed July 5. Had it been filed on time, collection of the additional fee would have begun this year.
"I don't know who made the mistake; we're just going to fix it," Curtis said, saying that sample legislation from another community was used in preparing last year's ordinance.
The three meetings have been scheduled to allow for the three separate readings of the new ordinance, which must be adopted and sent to the state DMV by Friday in order for collection to begin in July 2013, Curtis said.
The early-morning meetings were called to accommodate the work schedules of some council members, Curtis explained. She noted that council will have to suspend its normal rule that prohibits meeting on Sunday in order to hold today's session.
As with all council meetings, all three sessions are open to the public, although public comment is not always afforded at special sessions.