BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – An ordinance that would have allowed golf carts and ATVs on city streets is once again not listed as an action item on Tuesday’s City Council agenda.
It’s not even listed as possible items to be considered at future meetings.
City Councilman Matt Mohrfeld said Sunday that it was his understanding that the reason it’s not on the agenda is that one or more councilmen may not be present Tuesday.
“My understanding from talking with other councilman is that there may be a councilman or possibly two not there Tuesday,” Mohrfeld said.
“And several weeks ago, a couple guys commented at the meeting that if it’s voted on, it should be with the vote of the full council.”
The ordinance that was presented to the council would have allowed golf carts, ATVs, and UTVs on most city streets. 15th Street, 18th Street, and Business 61 were exempted from the permissible streets. Riders would be required to be 18 and all vehicles would need proper state and county permitting.
The idea was in front of the council about three years ago, but Mohrfeld brought the issue back in front of the council in July calling it “Americana” and said both smaller and larger cities than Fort Madison are allowing the vehicles.
Lee County Supervisors and the West Point City Council both voted this year to allow expanded use of the vehicles.
With the mayor’s seat and four council seats – 1st, 3rd, 5th, and one at large, up for election in November, Mohrfeld said he doesn’t think the delay has anything to do with the upcoming elections.
“Anything with it being bounced around will be painfully close to the election, but I definitely don’t think, by any stretch, it’s because of the election,” he said
“I would be as sensitive as anyone. If I had my way, we’d move forward with it. With that being said, I have full respect of them wanting that to be in front of the council. There are passionate opinions and it definitely changes the mix if everyone isn’t there.”
Mayor Brad Randolph wrote via text Sunday that it would appear the next reading on the ordinance would take place on Oct. 1, assuming a full council would be present.
“There is an absence for the upcoming council meeting, so the proposed ordinance will not be addressed until all council members will be present,” he wrote.
“With the proposed ordinance being the third time brought before the city, I don’t feel the ordinance should survive or die due to council members being absent.”
Also on the agenda, the council:
• will consider setting a public hearing for Oct. 1 prior to moving forward with construction of the Amtrak station platform. Bids for the work are being opened at Iowa Department of Transportation offices on Tuesday.
• will consider applying for a federal recreational trails grant for reimbursement of costs associated with the 48th Street extension of P.O.R.T. Trail project’s Phase IV.