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Excelsior plate

The people of New York have spoken and this is the design of the new official state license plate. 

AUBURN — The Cayuga County Legislature next month will likely vote on a resolution opposing the $25 fee some New Yorkers will have to pay as part of the state's license plate replacement program set to start next year.

Starting in April 2020, drivers with license plates that are at least 10 years old will be issued new plates when they renew their vehicle's registration, which will come with a $25 fee and an additional $20 if they wish to keep their existing plate numbers.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office has said the replacement program is needed to ensure plates remain readable for police and traffic cameras, some lawmakers and officials have criticized the fee, and Cayuga County might join those detractors.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Legislature's Government Operations Committee, County Clerk Sue Dwyer, who previously spoke against the fee, told legislators it was unneeded and excessive.

In addition to the fee, Dwyer has previously said the replacement program would place added stress on county clerk offices that will already have to deal with the added workload of upcoming federal changes to REAL ID guidelines in 2020.

Legislator Joseph Bennett, R-Auburn, said in response that Fulton County's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Monday opposing the program and the fee, and said Cayuga County should do the same.

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"I think we should, and the rest of the counties in the state should push it," Bennett said.

Committee members were vocal in support of the idea. Legislator Timothy Lattimore, R-Auburn, called the fee another burden that disproportionately affects upstate New York.

"It seems like it's been nothing more than what we've been calling it. It's just a cash grab," Legislator Patrick Mahunik, NP-Auburn, said.

The committee asked Dwyer to draft a resolution voicing the county's opposition. Committee Chair Joseph DeForest, D-Venice, said he expected it would be ready for the committee's consideration at its October meeting.

The state held a poll for residents to vote on five different designs for the new plates, with the winning plate featuring Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin.

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