New Paltz officials are considering the addition of municipal IDs for New Paltz residents. New York City and four municipalities in the Mid-Hudson Valley – Poughkeepsie, Middletown, Beacon and Kingston – either have an ID card program or have approved legislation to adopt municipal IDs already.
These ID cards are intended to connect residents to services, programs and benefits, regardless of immigration status, residence status or gender identity. The municipal ID program in the city currently offers photo identification cards to all residents age 10 and older. However, applicants of 10 to 13 years must apply with a caretaker.
Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Torres said that New Paltz officials have reached out to other municipalities to determine whether or not a municipal ID program would benefit New Paltz residents. He said that although they are still in the exploratory phase, this is something that the Town and Village are very interested in.
“We’ve reached out to other municipalities that have implemented municipal ID programs to kind of learn a little bit more about what worked for them, what didn’t work for them and how they’ve implemented the policy,” Torres said. “On our end I’ve heard from a number of community members and organizations that were interested in this proposal.”
Municipal IDs are considered most beneficial for illegal immigrants, but could be helpful to any marginalized group. Senior citizens, domestic violence victims, transgender individuals and homeless people have been named as potential beneficiaries for municipal IDs.
The criteria for obtaining one and the content shown would be determined by local officials. Torres said that, at bare minimum, the IDs would contain the individual’s name, address and photo. He added that the town clerk would be responsible for collecting the information and distributing the IDs.
Local businesses could also support the IDs by offering discounts to those holding one.
“I’m working with an individual who’s talking to local business owners to use this ID to have a certain amount of discounts for local businesses; that could be an exciting benefit,” Torres said. “I also think it creates a good community-feel for people and I think that ultimately it’s an item that can be used for public safety measures for individuals who have trouble getting official IDs.”
Deputy Mayor KT Tobin said that at the last joint meeting of the town council and village board, it was decided that municipal IDs is something that New Paltz should explore. She also said that she fully supports New Paltz finding a way to implement these ID cards.
New Paltz resident Ellen Rocco also expressed her support for voluntary municipal IDs.
“I support [municipal IDs] in New Paltz if it means folks who currently do not have easy-to-use IDs will have it,” she said. “My understanding is that without some form of official ID you can’t even get a bank account.”