GALLIPOLIS — Thanks to the passage of a city ordinance on Tuesday evening, golf cart operators will be able to travel along the 25-mile-per-hour-limited city streets once they have had their vehicle inspected and approved by the Gallipolis City Police.
The second reading of the ordinance was passed on Tuesday evening and requires that all golf carts be in compliance with applicable safety/equipment requirements of the State of Ohio, as well as maintain proper title, registration and license plates as with any other vehicle.
In addition, golf cart owners wishing to use their carts on the city streets must make an annual trip to the Gallipolis City Police Department to have their vehicle inspected, show proof of liability insurance and pay a $20 fee before a certificate of compliance and an expiration sticker may be issued for display on the cart.
The ordinance further states that no golf carts may be driven on any city street where the speed limit is more than 25 miles per hour. Golf carts will be permitted to cross intersections with higher speed limits, but must remain on a street that has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less.
All golf cart operators must be 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license, and vehicles must be driven in accordance with all Ohio traffic laws.
A request to allow the use of golf carts along the city streets was first brought before the commission in May by two Gallipolis City residents who were in favor of the idea.
A first reading of the ordinance passed by a four to one vote during a special meeting of the city commission held last month. City commissioner Mike Brown voted against the proposed ordinance.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the commission again discussed the ins and outs of the golf cart ordinance.
Commissioner Matt Johnson reported that he had spoken with Paul Covey, director of the O.O. McIntyre Park District, who proposed a possible agreement between the city and his office whereby an additional $20 fee, paid by the golf cart users to the city police, would allow golf cart drivers to utilize the portion of the park district bike path that travels through the lower portion and to the upper portion of Gallipolis.
According to Johnson, the proposition was that, of the $40 fee, $20 would go to the city and an additional $20 would be used by the park district.
However, Commissioner Jim Cozza reported that the city’s fee is capped at $20 and cannot be raised by law.
“The part that we can put on for license for a vehicle is capped at 20 dollars, and we’re at 20, so to use that as a way to raise it to 40 would be illegal,” Cozza said. “The county can’t do it because that piece of money is capped at 20. Now we could put 10 and the county can put 10 on it, but since we’re at 20, there’s not more place to go with it.”
Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury also reported that he is not sure of any way for the city to raise their fee beyond $20 to allow for the extra funding for the possible use of the park district.
“I don’t know what mechanism we can use to go beyond 20 dollars,” Salisbury said.
The commissioners further discussed the “certificate of compliance” issued by the police department and later amended the ordinance to specify that an expiration sticker, issued by the police department, be displayed on the rear of the cart. This sticker will allow city officers to more readily ascertain which golf carts are in compliance with the ordinance.
The second reading of the ordinance was later anonymously passed by the city commission and will be in effect 30 days from the date of its passage on Tuesday.