The third and final reading of the UTV and golf cart ordinances were approved at the Oct. 12 Durant city council meeting, but not before yet another lengthy discussion was held and multiple revisions were made. Safety concerns, fines, routes and registration fees were some of the topics covered during Monday’s discussion.
Council debated whether operating hours were appropriate and ultimately decided to keep the sunrise to sunset mandate on the golf cart ordinance, which follows the state code, but changed the UTV ordinance. UTVs will be allowed from one hour prior to sunrise until 11 p.m., keeping it similar to the city’s snowmobile code.
Council member Noel Price questioned the age limitation that restricted children under the age of 5 from riding in either recreational vehicle. She said it didn’t make sense for families and argued, “I just saw a family on my way up here with kids in the truck bed.” Both ordinances were amended to follow Iowa’s Child Restraint Law, which includes children under one and less than 20 pounds in a secured rear-facing seat and children ages one to six in a safety seat or booster seat.
Another safety topic covered was the need for head lights, tail lights and turn signals on golf carts. Golf carts are only allowed during daylight hours and hand-turn signals are allowed. Durant resident Brad Utter took issue with the lack of lighting on the carts. “With no brake lights, how the hell do I know when they’re stopping?” he asked council.
He also questioned whether or not he would be at fault if he hit a golf cart he didn’t know was stopping because of the lack of lights. “I think this is a recipe for disaster,” he stated.
Durant Mayor Scott Spengler agreed, saying it wasn’t who would be at fault he was concerned about, “It’s somebody getting killed; that’s the most important thing.” Council decided brake lights would be necessary on golf carts, but head lights, turn signals and tail lights would not be required.
Fines were changed per the recommendation of council member Dan Sterner. First offence fines would cost $100, while second offense fines would be $250 with the possibility of having your permit permanently revoked.
Muscatine County will begin allowing UTVs on county roads. “What they do outside of town is not really up to us,” said council member Kevin Mundt. As such, council chose to amend where UTVs can be driven, allowing access on Yankee and Vail avenues with crossing at Fifth Street and 14th Avenue.
“We could always give it a try and if we have issues we can change it then,” added Sterner. Golf cart routes were not changed. These may not be the most direct routes, but Sterner also said, “If they’re driving these things, more than likely they’re out to have a good time.”
Dates of operation were also discussed. UTVs can be driven year-round. The golf cart dates were extended and will be March 1 through Nov. 30, as long as there is no snow or ice.
Fees were set at $25 for golf carts and $40 for UTVs. Police Chief Orville Randolph was also tasked to order stickers, which will be given to permit holders.
Council anticipated that pending the publication of the ordinance, which should take place next week, and receipt of the stickers, the ordinances could be in effect this year with residents able to be on city streets by Nov. 1.
Police Department to host
events Oct. 24 and Oct. 29
The Durant Police Department will have two events this month, the first being a Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the police department. If unable to attend that day but have drugs that need to be disposed of, a person can contact the police department. This program assists with misuse or abuse of unused prescriptions drugs, and helps prevent them from being disposed of improperly.
The second event is the Cedar County Public Health Drive Through Flu Clinic, which will be Thursday, Oct. 29 from 1 until 5 p.m. at the police station parking lot. Masks are required and attendees will remain in their vehicles.
Cost is $30 payable by cash or check. Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance is accepted. There is no out-of-pocket expense for those with Medicare, Medicaid or Blue Cross Blue Shield. Children under 18 years of age who present a Medicaid card or are uninsured will receive the vaccine at no charge through the Vaccines for Children program. Visit www.cedarcounty.org for a consent form.
In other action, council:
* Opened the meeting with the approval of the agenda, approval of city bills and approval of minutes for the Sept. 28 meeting.
* Approved tax abatement applications for new condos at 1008 and 1010 Crestview Drive.
* Approved moving forward with purchasing ball park lights at Jaycee Park. The current cost less grant money available and funds received is $107,882. The city is waiting to see if it will receive an additional grant, which would bring costs down to $83,882.
* Approved the Durant police report, and gave approval for the mayor to sign the Governor Safety Traffic Bureau contract.
* Approved repairs to the Yankee Avenue bridge approach in conjunction with Cedar County, with an estimated cost of less than $15,000.
* Approved retro fit light fixtures and additional outside lighting at the fire station.
* Approved resolution 2020-47, approving the annual urban renewal report for fiscal year 2020.
* Approved resolution 2020-48, requesting an amendment for reimbursement from the Iowa COVID-19 Government Relief Fund. The reimbursement has increased from 25 percent to 50 percent.
* Approved financial statements from August and September.
Council members Diane Quiram, Price, Sterner, Mundt and Dave Schulz were present. All action taken was unanimous unless otherwise noted. The next meeting is Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.