EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 17, 2010

City fights out-of-state plates

HAVERHILL — If you live in the city and register your car in New Hampshire or another state, beware.

Police said they will issue fewer warnings and more citations to residents caught with out-of-state license plates.

Mayor James Fiorentini said he has told police to hand out more citations. The order came after a meeting of the mayor, police and city councilors last week.

Councilor Robert Scatamacchia said police received 330 reports of out-of-state plates since 2006, but only seven citations were issued. Scatamacchia is chairman of a committee studying the problem of Haverhill residents registering their cars out of state to avoid paying excise taxes to the city and save on insurance.

When asked about issuing more citations to violators, police Chief Alan DeNaro said he will comply with the mayor's plan.

The city also wants to make it easier for residents to report people who break the car registration law. Officials said they are working to set up a phone hot line and a spot on the city's website where reports can be made. People can now call police to make a report.

Scatamacchia, head of the city's Planning and Development Committee, said Haverhill has been losing out on excise tax dollars and fines to violators, and the public is being put at risk by drivers who register out of state to avoid paying insurance or to save on payments.

Scatamacchia and Councilor Sven Amirian, a member of the committee, met April 12 with the mayor and police chief to discuss a plan for cracking down on violators.

Police have said many reports of illegal registrations turn out to be false, and that in many cases warnings to owners were enough to make them comply with the law.

But, Scatamacchia said, "Isn't it easier to cite them rather than warn them and then have to check on them again?"

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