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Council puts on brakes to golf carts plan

Maumelle’s City Council completed its meeting Monday night for the very first time in front of an automated camera system installed in the ceiling. When the camera system was first proposed, several council members suggested the cameras would encourage “playing for the camera.” City Clerk Joshua Clausen said this is the first meeting to be videotapped but it will not appear on the city’s website. Photo by Bill LawsonBuy Photo
Maumelle’s City Council completed its meeting Monday night for the very first time in front of an automated camera system installed in the ceiling. When the camera system was first proposed, several council members suggested the cameras would encourage “playing for the camera.” City Clerk Joshua Clausen said this is the first meeting to be videotapped but it will not appear on the city’s website. Photo by Bill Lawson

Golf carts dominated the Maumelle City Council discussion once again on Monday evening but the only action taken on the issue was adopting an amendment that placed the ordinance back on first reading, delaying action for at least six weeks.

By a vote of five to three the council approved adding a motion that required liability insurance covering any golf cart that ended up on the streets.

The original sponsor, former mayor and current Ward Three alderman Burch Johnson voted against adding the amendment, as did aldermen Marc Kelley and Steve Mosley.

The remaining council members voted to add the amendment requiring operators of golf carts to have proof of liability insurance on that vehicle.

Johnson introduced the measure in October at the request of some Maumelle Country Club members who had lobbied for it.

Watson has opposed the plan, citing safety concerns, as has Maumelle Police Chief Sam Williams.

Williams informed council members Monday night that he had visited other cities who enforce the law vigorously. All cities who allow golf carts on streets told Williams it generated a significant increase in tickets, accidents and speeding tickets.

Aldermen spent well over an hour debating back and forth the implications of allowing golf carts freer rein.

Maumelle County Club president Gib Carpenter told council members it was “discouraging to see that many had made up their minds without hearing the details from those in the know.”

He showed a slide from a recent social event in his home where the driveways were filled with golf carts. Passage of this ordinance would foster more such encounters, he said.

Carpenter said a 300-pound golf cart able to go only 18 mph wasn’t going to do much damage even if it hit someone.

Like many of the controversy’s in Maumelle, strong emotions carried the day for both sides.

An ordinance issuing Capitol Improvement bonds easily passed.

Joyce Wilson, of Maumelle was reappointed to the Central Arkansas Library System board. CALS director Bobby Roberts asked the city to reappoint her to a second three-year term, which they did but not before questioning why the position wasn’t advertised like all Maumelle positions are.

Watson thanked those residents who supported our veterans at either one of the Veterans Day events on Nov. 11 and he asked for similar support for the Thanksgiving Hometown Thanksgiving day luncheon.

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