Topsham residents might soon see an increase in motor vehicle renewal fees and new registrations.

The town’s tax office is proposing that the town raise its fee to the current maximum allowed by the law that allows municipalities to charge $2 more for each renewal and new registration issued.

In 2019, the legislature approved a law LD 917, amended, an “Act increasing municipal agent fees for motor vehicle fees.”

“The legislature approved a law increasing municipal agent fees for motor vehicle fees for almost three years now, but we have not increased it,” said Town Manager Derek Scrapchansky. “We are bringing it in front of the Select Board Thursday night to see if they would like to go up to the allowed amounts.”

If approved, the vehicle owners will have to pay $5 for renewals and $6 for new registrations. Currently, the town collects $3 per motor vehicle renewal and $4 per new registration.

Scrapchansky said they did not increase the fee back then due to a major software implementation phase. Moreover, they did not want to increase the fee during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“It has been over 2 ½ years we haven’t kept up with the fee that has been allowed by the law,” said Scrapchansky. “We have done our best to keep costs down for the taxpayers, but there comes the point where there is got to increase somewhere to pay for service and to pay for what we do here.”

He said their staff spends the majority of their time processing new registrations.

Approximately 9,600 vehicles are registered at the town office annually.

Scrapchansky said an increase of $2 per registration for about 9,600 vehicles registered annually would lead to a nearly $19,000 increase in revenue for the town.

“The bigger picture would be as everything goes up in price, it could be either offset in taxes or in fees,” said Scrapchansky. “In terms of fees, it would affect people who have new cars that use a service to get new registrations and other things that our tax office does. We wouldn’t put the burden on people without vehicles in the form of tax.”

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