Hazel Crest set to do away with vehicle stickers after voters backed such a move

Hazel Crest is preparing to do away with annual vehicle stickers after voters supported such a move in a recent referendum.

The issue of eliminating stickers was discussed at a Village Board committee meeting Tuesday, and a draft ordinance that would halt the requirement for stickers as of Jan. 1 is due to be voted on May 28, Mayor Vernard Alsberry Jr. said Wednesday.

In an advisory referendum question on the March 19 ballot, the village asked whether stickers should be discontinued, and 81% of voters in the village supported eliminating the stickers.

Alsberry said declining revenue from sticker sales is one reason to get rid of them, and “more and more communities are doing away with them.”

Matteson did away with the sticker requirement as of Jan. 1, 2023, after voters the previous summer approved home rule authority for the village.

In February 2023, Tinley Park did away with the requirement of having vehicle stickers, something that had been in place since 1965.

Alsberry said that fewer people are registering their vehicles, and the cost of trying to enforce the sticker rule isn’t worth it considering the revenue they bring in.

In a memo to the Village Board, Hazel Crest village manager Dante Sawyer said sales of stickers and revenue have both fallen consistently in recent years.

There were just under 3,500 stickers sold in fiscal year 2023 compared with nearly 6,000 in fiscal 2017, Sawyer wrote. Revenue fell from $174,000 in fiscal 2017 to $104,000 in fiscal 2023, and sticker sales account for less than 1% of overall village revenue, he said.

Tinley Park still offers stickers, at no charge, to residents who want to display them out of concern they might be ticketed while traveling outside Tinley Park.

Alsberry said his community is looking at something similar.

Communities will generally use revenue from stickers for maintenance, such as patching and crack sealing, of village streets.

In Tinley Park, revenue from sticker sales had been more than $700,000 in fiscal year 2017 but had dropped to a bit more than $300,000 at the time the sticker requirement was eliminated.

Officials said the village’s growing senior population meant the village is selling more discounted stickers, and there are residents who simply don’t buy them.

Alsberry said, several years ago, Hazel Crest police would set up checkpoints at entrances to village subdivisions, checking vehicles for stickers and issuing tickets.

New Lenox, in May 2012, dropped its sticker requirement, but has continued to make the decals available for $1 apiece after residents raised concerns about being ticketed when parked outside of the village. Mokena also did away with the sticker requirement in 2012.