Editorial: Banking on hometown pride
Nowadays, cash-strapped localities are working hard to squeeze the most out of every dollar. From cutting unneeded expenditures to applying for any and every grant, county administrators have tried almost everything to make ends meet.
There is one tool left untouched: the pride and goodwill of residents, who might pay for specialty auto license plates.
This was tried in Mathews County in 1998 and at the time, only a few people subscribed for the plate sporting New Point Comfort Lighthouse that was designed and unveiled by the late Barry Thompson. His son, Robert Thompson, believes only about 25 people signed up for this plate, to his father’s disappointment. The state requires 350 subscriptions to put the plate into production.
At that time, our vehicles still had county stickers on the windshield, depicting lighthouses (usually New Point) in Mathews, and various landmarks in Gloucester. Different local tax collection methods have made these decals obsolete.
But drivers still have an opportunity, on the palette of the license plate, to show where they come from.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will charge extra for these plates, sharing about $15 of the surcharge from each with the locality. It’s not much, but a healthy signup for such plates would allow residents to boast of their hometowns with pride, and help them as well. It’s an idea worth reconsidering.