Council one roll call from approving ATVs, golf carts

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – A packed Fort Madison Council Chambers saw the Fort Madison City Council edge closer to allowing golf carts and ATVs on certain city streets.

The council voted 4-3 on the second reading of the ordinance to allow the vehicles on city streets with the exception of 15th and 18th streets, Hwy. 2, and Business 61.

The ordinance would follow county regulations and would allow licensed drivers 18 and older to operate golf carts, ATVS, and side-by-sides on city streets.

Earlier this year, the Lee County Supervisors and West Point City Council approved similar measures.

Councilmen Matt Mohrfeld, Chris Greenwald, Rusty Andrews, and Kevin Rink voted in favor of the move, while Bob Morawitz, Mark Lair, and Chad Cangas all voted against the measure. The vote was on the same lines as the first reading.

The ordinance will require a third reading at the Oct. 15 meeting and then would go into effect after it is published.

Eleven residents went to the podium to give their opinion on the proposed code change.

Councilman Chad Cangas suggested toward the end of the discussion that the issue be put on a ballot to applause from the standing-room only crowd, but Morawitz said that wouldn’t be a legal question.

“That’s not a question that the state will allow you to put on a ballot,” Morawitz said.

He said the comments he’s received from the constituents he’s heard from is that they don’t want the change, so that’s how he will continue to vote.

Greenwald said his position is centered around creating a new law and whether the law creates a freedom or a limitation.

“This brings one of the biggest things that a council can do – create a law. We live in a free country and it comes down to whether we prohibit a freedom or allow it,” he said.

Fort Madison resident Dave Bohnenkamp spoke to the council and asked that the issue be tabled until the next city council is seated in January.

Former City Councilman Brian Wright asked what it would take to reverse the ordinance should it be passed by the current council. City Attorney Robert Johnson said it would be like any other added agenda item at the request of the City Manager, the Mayor, or two city council representatives.

About Chuck Vandenberg 5748 Articles
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8 Comments

  1. “Create a law”
    How about we create a law that prevents you from creating laws to benifet counsil members and their friends and family and create laws that will benifet the majority of citizens instead..

  2. My insurance agent confirmed my insurance will go up if this passes.so if my insurance goes up so does the other thousands of drivers insurance in this town.
    Whos going to pay the difference?
    On top of that im sure our city taxes will go up too for these.
    Do not let this happen.the citizens of fort madison shouldnt have to pay for this.

  3. You need to get a different insurance agent because he’s lying to you. It will have zero impact on your insurance or your taxes.

    • Not entirely true. You are correct that his insurance would not be effected. However what I believe he is stating is that insurance is calculated from a number of things and what I believe he is getting at is that “assuming” accidents involving golf carts were to happen and claims started to be files because of golf cart vs vehicle accidents than yes he would be correct in that all of our vehicle insurance would rise.

  4. I think you all need to check statistics for what you are talking about. Fairfield has had UTV’s in town for some time and far as I know there have been no accidents. Some people are just negative no matter what it is. UTV’s will buy gas, food, shop and whatever. That is a proven fact. Some cars are even smaller than a UTV. This is a good thing for FM and I guess if it does not work out they can always change it or drop it.

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