Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

'Z tag' allows drivers permanent registration

Borough to look into option


Manager Brad Ryan told the Haines Borough Assembly Tuesday he would look into an option offered by the state for the municipality to allow permanent vehicle registration for residents.

Under a state law that became effective in January 2015, owners of non-commercial trailers and vehicles at least eight years old can get a “permanent” registration renewal by paying $25 in addition to the state’s two-year registration fee and never have to register the vehicle again.

Lifetime registration is not transferable, meaning that if the car is sold, a new owner would still need to pay a registration fee.

The law was the work of Alaska state Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak. The Mat-Su Borough has opted in and provides the so-called “Z tags” to its residents, said Daniel George, an aide to Stoltze. “There’s a lot of them in the Mat-Su Borough,” George said this week.

In Haines, the option issue was raised by resident Eddie Bryant, who brought it to the attention of the assembly’s finance committee. It was unclear this week why municipal officials weren’t previously aware of the new law. “For some reason, it never rose to our attention,” Ryan said this week.

Ryan said a decision to opt in would have to be made by the assembly. He said one of the “catches” would be how opting in would affect a $22 borough surcharge on auto registration renewals that pays for the municipality’s junk-car removal program.

Bryant said he thinks opting in would be popular here, as it would save motorists money and there are a number of cars on the road that would qualify for permanent tags.

Stoltze did not respond to a message left at his office this week.

John Moosey, manager of the Mat-Su Borough, characterized the permanent registration as a mixed bag. Personally, he saved money not having to renew his tags, but the municipality is losing money from an $80 fee it attached to registration renewal that previously supported road maintenance service areas.

About half the cars in the borough qualified for the permanent registration, he said. “Some (road work) is going undone and has to wait. It’s like a lot of other things we do,” Moosey said.

Residents are glad to not have to wait in line at the DMV, Moosey said. “It’s giving people back some time and limiting some frustration.”


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