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City Council dominated by talk of golf carts on the streets

In what seems to be a never ending story, the operation of golf carts on city streets was once again a dominant theme of discussion at the Dec. 16 City Council meeting for the fifth meeting in a row.

The ordinance allowing golf carts to be driven anywhere in the city except state highway was on its second reading in its second configuration after a major amendment placed it back on the agenda starting at first reading.

Alderman Ken Saunders said he was having a hard time justifying the time spent and the concern over operation of a golf cart when the city allowed “pre-teens driving on our city streets in mopeds and scooters.”

Once again Saunders said he was concerned “we’re trying to fix something that’s not broken.”

He said we’re not writing tickets so he suggested we follow the current ordinance and start writing tickets or revising the ordinance.

Saunders said what was broken was that we weren’t enforcing the law.

He said Maumelle needed to write a “ticket if they break the law.”

Alderman Preston Lewis said he first supported the ordinance but he’d changed his mind because the city would be legalizing crossing Odom Boulevard in a golf cart.

The new ordinance would take away the discretion of the police, he said.

Alderman Steve Mosley took the ordinance proposing the establishment of special improvement districts to task telling sponsors he didn’t like the idea because he said it was just another way to increase profits for builders and that he’d oppose it,

“Maumelle was a Buyer Beware town at one time,” he said.

Scheduled for a third and final reading at the next meeting, the council approved a motion to place it as a special order of business and consider it on Jan 21, 2014.

Bottom Line developer Charles Hinson asked the council to waive a requirement that he pave a road on the island that was required in a settlement that settled six lawsuits regarding the controversial construction on the island from several years ago. Instead he wants to gravel the road.

In fact, it was noted that alderwoman Jan Hogue is the only council member still on the council who was on the council when the issue erupted into packed houses and protests against the construction of housing on the peninsula in the Arkansas River.

Hinson didn’t show for the hearing and Watson said he’d hold the matter until Hinson provided information they requested. He said Hinson will have to acquire a permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to start construction as well as a “No Rise” approval from FEMA.

In other business the council approved a 2014 budget that was cut at the last minute when revenue projections tightened.

Its passage prompted discussion on revenue noting that the next growth increase in turn back funds won’t occur until after the 2020 census and that growth has slowed so the city can’t count on that money.

Alderman Burch Johnson said garbage fees haven’t been increased since 2005.

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