Gov. Markell Signs Bill to Allow Low-Numbered Surf Vehicle Plate - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Gov. Markell Signs Bill to Allow Low-Numbered Surf Vehicle Plates

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Photo: Delaware Seashore State Park Photo: Delaware Seashore State Park
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Governor Jack Markell signed a bill Thursday which allows DNREC and the Division of Parks & Recreation to issue low-numbered surf vehicle plates by sale or auction.

Governor Markell joined Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary David Small, legislators and surf fishing groups and enthusiasts Thursday for the signing.

Each year, DNREC says Delaware State Parks officials will release a number of low digit tags through a live auction in spring/early summer for a limited number of tags. The auction will occur in a clearly defined period. Once a person wins the bid, DNREC says they will retain the tag as long as they continue to purchase their annual surf fishing permit sticker. This will be followed by an online auction for up to 100 total tags, where customers can bid on the numbered plate they are interested in. It is anticipated that the program will be in place by Memorial Day, 2015.

"This legislation has the potential to be a strong revenue source to benefit our state parks," said Gov. Markell. "This year, more than 14,000 surf tags were sold, generating about $1.3 million for our state parks. So not only is this legislation a revenue-raiser for our  parks, it appeals to parks users who have an affinity for low digit tags - and we in Delaware know that will appeal to a large number of potential buyers."

DNREC says the purchase of the low-numbered surf fishing plates is optional. If someone chooses not to purchase the numbered plate, DNREC says they can continue to buy a surf fishing permit as they currently do. Once a low-number tag is purchased, the tag is retained by the purchaser as long as they continue to buy their annual surf fishing permit.

"Our state parks rely on outside revenues for about 65 percent of our budget", said DNREC Secretary Small. "This is another example of working collaboratively with the General Assembly on innovative, often market-based initiatives to generate funds for our parks - which we know are a strong driver for Delaware's tourism economy. Our sincere thanks go to Representative John Atkins, prime sponsor of the bill, and Senator David McBride for their leadership and support of this legislation."

 The funds generated by the new plates will be used to support day-to-day operations and maintenance - particularly at the state's ocean parks, according to DNREC. Numbered tags were issued by DNREC's Division of Parks & Recreation until the practice was discontinued in 1994, but the tags have remained popular with collectors and surf fishing enthusiasts.

The Division of Parks & Recreation says it is currently developing the process for administering the program to implement the fulfillment for the plates. This will benefit both customers and the Division of Parks & Recreation by entering all customer information needed to purchase the plates into a database that will streamline and shorten the purchasing of a surf tag in the future.

DNREC says the new operating system to create the new low digit tags is scheduled to receive requests in late spring/early summer. The ability to auction the plates will be included in a Request for Proposals being developed by Government Support Services.
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