Lighthouse replaces magnolia on license plates

Published 11:47 pm Monday, September 24, 2007

NATCHEZ — A lighthouse will replace the traditional magnolia flower on the backs of cars when Mississippi drivers start attaching new license plates in October.

Every five years, as required by law, the state tax commission changes the license plates, Adams County Tax Collector Vernona Sanders said.

This year, the Biloxi lighthouse will grace the bumpers of state drivers.

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“It’s to do with (Hurricane) Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast,” Sanders said. “The lighthouse withstood the storm. It’s a symbol of hope for the future.”

Starting Oct. 1, as residents’ license plates come up for renewal, they will be replaced with the new plates.

The plates cost $1.25 extra in addition to the property tax residents pay based on their vehicle’s value.

“Everybody will get a new plate, but it will take one full year” to replace everyone’s, Sanders said.

Another change on the plate will be the expiration date stickers, she said.

“In the past, the expiration months have been put on,” she said. “Those months are going to be replaced with numbers. January will be 01, February 02, right on down like that.”

As for the plates’ centerpiece, Sanders said she welcomed the change.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “I think it’s one of the prettiest tags we’ve had in many, many years. We’ve had magnolias for years, so this is very different.”

Nearly all the past license plates have featured magnolias.

The image of the lighthouse was intended to remind people of those who lost so much in Katrina and serve as a symbol of recovery, according to a statement from the state license plate commission.