Spencer votes to have staff develop golf cart ordinance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Aldermen has decided to have the town staff come up with an ordinance to regulate the use of golf carts on Spencer’s streets.

At the meeting on Tuesday, the board tied in the vote with Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Chillcott and aldermen David Smith and Mike Boone voting in favor of the motion and aldermen Howard White, Kevin Jones and David Lamanno voting against the motion.

Mayor Jim Gobbel broke the tie by voting for the motion.

Alderman Mike Boone originally asked that the board discuss conditional use of golf carts in the town. During the discussion at the July meeting, he said passing some kind of ordinance could prevent future problems.

Alderman David Smith asked that the issue be revisited during Tuesday’s meeting.

Alderman Howard White said he did not want to punish golf cart drivers with heavy regulations.

“If it becomes an issue down the road we can go further, but … we can just make it as easy as possible,” he said.

Smith mentioned that the golf carts would not necessarily have to have turn signals and lights installed, but they would have to adhere to state laws and have liability insurance.

“Therefore it takes the liability off this person should an accident happen,” he said.

Jones asked about the need for an ordinance since police have not been ticketing golf cart drivers. He said he thought that town staff should look into the simplest way to address legalizing golf cart use.

“I definitely don’t feel like that’s something we need to remove, and I don’t think the rest of the board does as well,” he said. He added the board and staff should not spend too much time on the issue.

White said the board had things they needed to worry about other than golf carts.

“There’s a lot of pressing things in this town that need addressing (rather) than golf carts,” White said. “That’s my opinion.”

Police Chief Michael James said in the July meeting that he did not know of any golf cart collisions that have happened in town, but said an ordinance would allow the town to prevent future safety problems.

In other business, the board:

  • Heard reports from different departments and the town manager. Town Manager Reid Walters said Carolina Thread is helping the town build a trail between Spencer Woods and the Eighth Street Park. Oct. 1 and 22 have been scheduled as work days for the project. Anyone interested in helping can meet the workers at the Eighth Street Park at about 9 a.m. on those two days.
  • Held public comment. Dan Patterson talked about the need for fixing sidewalks around town and cutting back bushes so that people could safely walk on the sidewalks. Bob Oswald read candidate responses from last year’s Board of Aldermen election on what they wanted done in town. Most responses were about improving the physical appearance of the town and attracting businesses.
  • Approved the Statewide Contingency Funding contract. The $390,000 in funding will be used for improvements to the storm water management and paving for Fourth Street.
  • Heard a presentation from Jim Behmer, Salisbury-Rowan Utilities director, about the Rowan County United Way’s fundraising campaign. The board agreed to have a United Way representative talk to town employees.
  • Approved property liens for a property on the 600 block of Third Street and another on the 600 block of South Yadkin Avenue.
  • Approved the lease-purchase of 18 MSA SCBAs and other equipment for the Spencer Fire Department totaling about $151,483. The amount was budgeted for in the current fiscal year’s budget.
  • Approved a motion for the intent to go forward with the purchase of a ladder truck from the city of Salisbury to replace the Spencer Fire Department’s 1978 Mack Fire Truck. The cost of purchasing the truck and additional improvements is $44,900.
  • Approved the surplus liquidation of various items.
  • Approved the acceptance of a $5,809.89 donation from the recently disbanded Citizens for Historic Spencer. The donation will go towards purchasing benches to be placed on Salisbury Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets and Third and Fourth streets. Benches would also be placed on the Transportation Museum side of Salisbury Avenue.
  • Decided to have the Trunk or Treat event at the Eighth Street Ball Park in conjunction with the event the Spencer Little League is already having.
  • Asked the town staff to create a prioritized plan to address sidewalk and gutter maintenance.
  • Proclaimed Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as Sept. 17 and Constitution Week as Sept. 17-23.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.