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ATVs, UTVs, golf carts are banned from city streets

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It’s rare for the Jackson Board of Aldermen to split a vote with a 4-4 tie, but it happened Aug. 15 when considering the matter of allowing golf carts, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility vehicles (UTVs) to be driven on city streets.

(The aldermen recently learned that the city ordinance bans ATVs and golf carts, but it didn’t mention UTVs, so UTVs were allowed under state law.)

Mayor Dwain Hahs cast the deciding vote, and he voted “yes,” to add recreational off-road and utility vehicles to the list of vehicles prohibited on city streets.

The ordinance now states, “No person shall ride on or operate a ‘motorized play vehicle,’ an ‘all-terrain vehicle,’ a ‘golf cart,’ a ‘recreational off-highway vehicle,’ or a ‘utility vehicle’ upon any street, highway, roadway, or sidewalk within the city or within the boundaries of any city park.

“It is provided, however, that golf carts may cross city streets solely for the purpose of getting from one section of a golf course to another.

“This section does not apply to vehicles operated by the city or vehicles operated at specific events authorized by the city or vehicles operated by individuals for debris removal or snow removal.

“In the event that this section is violated by a juvenile, then the vehicle shall be confiscated by the city and held until the transportation and storage fees are paid by the adult owner of the vehicle.”

“I’m going to vote “Yes” to prohibit these,” announced the mayor after the aldermen vote ended in a tie. “And the reason I’m doing this is, I think this is a decision that the council needs to continue to discuss.

“I really think it’s important enough that we ought to have a majority when we move to allow vehicles that, for the last few years, we thought were banned, until we got a better definition of the ordinance. This takes us back to where we thought we were.

“We’ve got it scheduled for a [future] study session.

“I’m not really completely opposed to having these UTVs on our city streets, but I think if we do do that, we ought to have some restrictions and discussions on what kind of restrictions,” Hahs stated.

The aldermen unanimously approved a separate amendment to the Code of Ordinances which defines “recreational off-road vehicle” and “utility vehicle.”

During study session later that evening, Jackson resident Deane Sprout said he would still like to see street-legal golf carts allowed on residential city streets. “I am for street-legal golf carts,” he said. His golf cart, which can go up 27 mph, has all the necessary safety features. Being electric, it would save him gas money if he could drive it on city streets. He said other cities in the state allow them, including six suburbs of St. Louis and Branson. The aldermen had been focusing most of their attention on permitting utility vehicles on city streets. “I wanted to get golf carts back into the discussion,” Sprout said.

In other action

• Tax rates: No one from the public spoke at a public hearing on the proposed 2022 parks and recreation, general revenue, cemetery and band tax rates. The rates were approved later in the meeting. The tax rate of 94.51¢ per $100 assessed valuation was approved.

• Election: The certified election results of the Aug. 2 primary election were accepted.

• Liquor license: The sale of intoxicating liquor, malt liquor (beer) and nonintoxicating beer was approved for the Big Love Concert in the Leist Memorial Band Shell in City Park on Friday, Sept. 2, as requested by Stooges.

• Water system: The aldermen approved a $31,900 increase in expenditures to Horner & Shifrin, Inc., of St. Louis for additional engineering services under the Water System Facility Plan Implementation Program, Phase 2.

This amendment pays for $11,900 in additional engineering services for design, bidding, and construction phase services to replace the pump supports and VFDs for Pumps No. 1 and 2 at Water Treatment Plant No. 1.

It also allocates $20,000 for easement preparation and modifications for the East Jackson Boulevard and High Street Water Main Replacement Projects.

• Circle Fiber: A contract was approved for Circle Fiber to provide telephone and Internet services to city offices.

• Mutual settlements: A mutual settlement and release agreement was approved between the City and Joseph Ehinger relative to a claim for property damage allegedly resulting from the disconnection of electrical services following a rainstorm.

A separate mutual settlement and release agreement was approved between the City and Sharon Sarno of Jackson, relative to the McKendree Hills Sanitary Sewer District Project.

• Public hearings set: The aldermen set two public hearings for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6. The first is to consider a special use permit for a towing business in a C-2 (general commercial) District at 1405 S. Farmington Rd., as submitted by Land Escapes, LLC.

The second is to consider a special use permit for shipping containers as long-term storage in a C-2 (general commercial) District at 957 W. Independence St., as submitted by Brennon Todt.

• Restroom: The aldermen authorized the payment of $15,500 to Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc., for providing engineering services under the Restroom No. 1 Building Replacement Project.

• Concrete improvement: The aldermen approved a change order to Fronabarger Concreters, Inc. of Oak Ridge, for its work on the 2022 Concrete Pavement Improvement Program. The final completion date was moved from Aug. 22 to Sept. 22.

• Touch a Truck: Alderman Wanda Young announced that the Jackson Outreach Board’s Touch a Truck event is slated for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Oct. 1. If anyone has a large work vehicle they would like to show off at the event, they should contact the Jackson Outreach Board, she said.

• Polio: Rotary Club member Robin Cole addressed the aldermen during a non-agenda citizen input session, stating that Rotary’s passionate mission is the eradication on polio. Currently, only two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, harbor the disease, but it appears to be making a comeback. It could spread through the New York City wastewater system and infect hundreds, he said. He proposed that Jackson do two things to stay ahead of the curve: test its wastewater for the polio virus and ramp up an urgent booster vaccination campaign for children 9 and younger. “Get ahead of this. If you wait, it will be too late.”

• Greensferry Road: A Jackson resident who lives on Greensferry Road complained that traffic has become heavier, and although the posted speed limit is 30, most vehicles are going 40 or more; some travel double the speed limit. “We need something done to slow down the traffic,” he said.

Alderman Joe Bob Baker suggested that the police department put this section of roadway on a high priority and give out more speeding tickets. Police Chief James Humphreys said JPD is aware of the situation and has given out tickets.

“I think the only way to stop it is to write up a bunch of tickets.” Baker said.

• Purchase of city property: Pat Morgan expressed interest in purchasing city-owned property behind Liberty Utilities. Mayor Hahs recommended he put his request in writing for the City to consider.

• Improving pedestrian safety on Main Street: City Engineer Anna Bergmark informed the aldermen that MoDOT is offering an 80/20 grant (with a maximum grant of $12,000) to improve pedestrian safety, and Jackson is considering applying for this grant to improve Main Street from the roundabout to Highway 72. The funds could be used to create curb extensions, raised sidewalks, additional signage, etc. This could give Main Street a look similar to Broadway in Downtown Cape Girardeau.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at cashbook@mvp.net.

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