Several residents with a senior discount have contacted Oak Park Village Hall to express concern about the new fees for vehicle stickers.

This year the village board increased the vehicle sticker fee for the first time in 24 years, from $45 to $50 for passenger vehicles. Even with this modest increase, the fee is 50 percent lower than the $75 annual fee charged in Evanston and Chicago. The discount for seniors has been increased from $10 to $11, for a total fee of $39.

Budget cuts at village hall have reduced vehicle sticker staff in the clerk’s office by 40 percent, from five staff members to three, with plans for an additional staff reduction after this vehicle sticker season. In order to maintain service quality, we must explore new ways to do business.

Online renewal of vehicle stickers saves a tremendous amount of staff time. The village wants to express its appreciation to residents who use the online option by passing along the savings. For online renewals, data entry is done by the resident, saving staff time in deciphering handwriting and inputting new information. Payments are processed automatically, saving cashier time. Residents save time as well, as they are able to place their orders day or night at their convenience, usually in less than 10 minutes. The sticker is delivered to your home by mail.

We realize that not all residents own a computer, so the online process is optional. When residents have called and complained about the higher fee for other mail and walk-in renewals, we have explained that the public library and village hall both have public computers available, and to the extent possible with our reduced staff, we can assist those who wish to receive the online discount. In addition, family members or friends may also be able to assist with the online renewal process.

We do appreciate all of those who are choosing the online option this year. In the first week of the renewal process, more than twice as many seniors renewed online as in all of the past year! Renewals by all residents have been especially strong in the initial week, and we thank all residents for working with us as the Village of Oak Park works to do more with less in these difficult economic times.

• Teresa Powell is the Oak Park village clerk.

Join the discussion on social media!