Gold cart PIXABAY

MOUNT VERNON — It might take a few weeks, but motorists could see golf carts on neighborhood streets before the end of summer. At Monday's meeting, council members adopted an ordinance allowing under-speed vehicles on streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less.

The ordinance initially allowed golf carts on streets of 35 mph. Council amended the limit to 25 mph on the recommendation of Police Chief Roger Monroe.

Monroe said there were two streets of concern: East High Street and Mount Vernon Avenue.

East High Street past Park Street becomes 35 mph going up the hill. East High dead ends into Edgewood Road, which has already been the subject of complaints of speeding and traffic congestion.

“I think allowing golf carts in that area would not be a good choice,” said Monroe.

Similarly, Mount Vernon Avenue is 35 mph and goes past parks and schools that have a lot of pedestrian and motorized traffic.

Golf carts are allowed to cross over streets posted 35 mph as well as state and U.S. routes. They are not allowed to travel on state and U.S. routes. Monroe will create a map showing where golf carts are allowed.

Monroe has not yet determined the inspection fee. He wants to figure the man hours and costs involved first. Inspection fees will go into the police department's operations fund.

Council removed the emergency clause before passing the ordinance which means it will not go into effect for 30 days. Monroe will use that time to determine fees and write inspection regulations.

Council also approved contracting for engineering services for a storm water/water/wastewater upgrade in the Clintonville subdivision that includes Grange, Fern, Pearl, Clinton Road, Mansfield Road, and Longitude and Latitude drives. City Engineer Brian Ball said the project is not in the budget, but because the Environmental Protection Agency has given the city a deadline to comply, the city must get started on the project.

“The pump station is not big enough to handle the storm water,” he explained. “It overflows and dumps into the Kokosing River.”

Contributing to the problem is residential downspouts connected to the storm water drains, no seals on manholes, and corroded water lines. He referenced a 2001 EPA report outlining what the city needs to do to fix the problem.

“None of this has been done,” he said. “The EPA has now noticed.”

“Each one of these violations are a significant fine,” said Law Director Rob Broeren. “We are testing their patience.”

Money for the engineering services, estimated at $50,000, will come from the water, wastewater, and engineering budgets. Ball said that hopefully in the future a storm water utility will fund the actual upgrade, which council will budget for in 2020. He said it is unlikely the city will get grant money, but it does have an opportunity to take out an EPA loan.

In other legislative action, council:

  • Passed an ordinance dealing with chronic nuisance property abatement
  • Adopted a resolution to comply with fair housing regulations
  • Authorized the city to buy a command vehicle for the fire department to replace a 2007 vehicle. Safety-service Director Joel Daniels anticipates getting the vehicle locally for less than $35,000. The money comes from the 1/2% fire/EMS income tax voters approved in 2017.
  • Authorized bill payment, fund transfers, and appropriations. Appropriations included $63,024 from the permissive auto tax which is earmarked for the city's paving program
  • Adopted an economic development business plan for the Central Business District
  • Approved creating a 2020 complete count census committee designed to encourage residents to complete their census forms

In a Utilities Committee meeting, Councilman Chris Menapace formally notified council that he was not pursuing the idea of a preferred trash hauler.