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What are the most popular specialty license plates in Hall County?
According to Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden, the most popular specialty license plates in the county are the Wildlife Bald Eagle tag, the Wildlife Bobwhite Quail Restoration tag, the University of Georgia tag, the Wildlife Hummingbird tag and the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Dog and Cat Sterilization Program tags.
Three of the five most popular plates were created by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The bald eagle and hummingbird tags raise money for the DNR Wildlife Resource Division’s nongame conservation fund, which benefits endangered and nongame wildlife and plants through conservation, education, land acquisition and recreation projects. The Bobwhite Quail license plate contributes to a DNR initiative that creates critical habitats for quail.
Both programs receive no state appropriations and rely heavily on the tags to help raise money, according to DNR spokesman Rick Lavender. Each new plate or renewal contributes $10 to its respective program, and in fiscal year 2013, funds raised through the specialty plates accounted for 55 percent of the money raised for the nongame conservation fund.
“The first specialty we introduced was in 1997, and it has been our primary fundraiser for years since then,” Lavender said. “We depend on fundraisers, grants and private donations.”
Each dollar raised for these programs is used to match federal grants, Lavender said. Though the exact amount changes from year to year, DNR receives roughly $2 from the federal government for every dollar raised locally.
The University of Georgia license plate raises money for need-based scholarships to the university, and currently has about 60,000 tags on the road, according to the school’s website. The Dog and Cat Sterilization Program plates help fund a Department of Agriculture initiative that helps pay for spaying and neutering procedures by veterinarians and provides educational materials on the benefits of dog and cat sterilization.