Piggott Council Meets, Advances Golf Cart Ordinance

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Although it will still be over a month before permits are available, members of the Piggott City Council advanced the so-called golf cart ordinance at their regular meeting Monday night. For the second reading of the ordinance several other provisions were added to the legislation, which allows golf carts and side-by-sides to be operated on city streets.

During the gathering, the council also heard and accepted the Job Stimulus Board audit, approved the solid waste financials and audit and agreed to continue with the Code Red phone alert system. Two proclamations were also favored, and the council passed the resolution which levies the ad valorem five mill tax for the coming year. During his update to council, utilities director Brian Haley had good news concerning electric usage and rates as they pertain to the current bill.

With all members in attendance, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Poole at city hall. Also on hand were key administrative staff and a number of spectators.

The first matter on the agenda was the audit of the Job Stimulus Board, with Mike Scott and Jarred Lowe in attendance to make the presentation and field questions. Scott reviewed the report, which was prepared by the firm Smith and Davis, of Kennett. He indicated the ending net balance stood at $701,976, and updated council on income and depreciation from the past year.

Following a thorough review, and a few questions from council, the audit was accepted on a vote of 4-0.

Council then turned their attention to the second reading of Ordinance 646-18, concerning the golf carts and side-by-sides. During the discussion Mayor Poole noted several other provisions had been added at the request of the Piggott Police Department and due to other concerns.

In addition to the other restrictions, such as the requirement for liability insurance, prohibition on traveling more than 20 miles per hour and not allowing those under 18 to operate such machines, the legislation was adjusted to reflect that the vehicles cannot be used after dark.

At the suggestion of Chief Don Poole, the license stickers will be annual with those purchasing one after the initial sale, or at other points during the year, paying a pro-rated cost of the $25 fee.

Although the measure has been supported by those owing side-by-sides, it offers a number of restrictions aimed at the vehicles. Most notably is the speed limit reference, which notes “if such vehicle is being driven in excess of twenty (20) miles per hour, it shall not be considered a golf cart under this ordinance.”

The ordinance also notes that hand signals must be used, traffic cannot be impeded by the vehicles and those convicted of violating the terms of the ordinance will lose their permit in addition to being fined. All usual traffic laws also apply to the vehicles, and each must display a slow-moving vehicle sign which must extend a minimum of 12 inches above the cart.

Council members then voted 4-0 to approve the second reading of the proposed ordinance. In what was somewhat of a surprise, council member Mike Cook then offered the motion to waive the requirement the ordinance be read on three separate occasions, and place it on the third and final reading—title only.

The council members agreed, and the measure was approved without dissent.

Cook then inquired of city attorney Kimberly Dale if there was an accompanying emergency clause, which would allow the ordinance to go into effect immediately. She indicated no emergency clause had been prepared, and noted the ordinance would go into effect 30 days after it is published as required by law.

The complete ordinance may be found elsewhere in this edition of the CCTD.

During his report to council, Haley noted usage had been up for the months of July and August due to hot conditions, but he did have some positive news about rates.

“We had a couple of good cost true-ups and we've been able to benefit our customers by about $81,000,” he reported. “That equates to about two cents a kilowatt hour, and gets our rate down to around 11 cents.”

He reported the most recent billing period for Clay County Electric Cooperative reflected a rate of about 12 cents, and Craighead Electric Cooperative was at about 10 and one-half cents.

“We have had some transmission issues we've been battling,” he offered. “But, we've saved enough to be able to reduce the cost on the bills.”

Haley also noted the city's use of hydroelectric power had remained static, although lake levels have fluctuated during the dry and wet periods.

He also indicated the MLWS and street department have been proceeding with an aggressive tree trimming program, and updated the efforts to have several key utility poles replaced with steel ones.

During the update on the water and sewer departments, he indicated they remained in primarily a maintenance mode. Otherwise, a one-inch line was recently replaced and personnel have been installing the radio-read meters.

In reference to MLWS, Mayor Poole also noted the effort to set-up billing by credit and debit card is near complete, and the city will be offering that service to customers in the near future.

Late in the meeting the council discussed a number of properties which have drawn complaints, and discussed whether residents could be forced to clean-up cluttered carports. Council member Travis Williams also inquired about whether the city had a mosquito eradication program, and was updated on past efforts. Currently, the city does not have such a program after finding past efforts to be either ineffective or too costly. During the discussion it was noted in some surrounding cities the residents pay an additional fee on their utility bills for the service.

In other business the council--

Approved the financial report and audit for the solid waste management district.

Passed a proclamation designating Sept. 17 to 22, as Constitution Week.

Voted to proclaim Sept. 21, 2018, as POW/MIA Observation Day in Piggott.

Extended the contract for the Code Red phone alert system for another year.

Approved the resolution to levy the ad valorem five mill tax for 2019.

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