The City of Jacksonville and Village of South Jacksonville are working to make registration and usage of golf carts and UTV’s easier in both municipalities.
The Jacksonville City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the regulation and operation of golf carts and UTV’s on city streets last night. The changes have come after continued conversation between South Jacksonville Police Chief Eric Hansel, and Jacksonville Chief of Police Adam Mefford.
Chief Hansel says he and Jacksonville City Clerk Skip Bradshaw have been working to amend their ordinances to remove differences that caused hardships for both the municipalities and owners of the vehicles.
“In the ordinances, Jacksonville did not build in reciprocity to South Jacksonville residents nor did ours build in for Jacksonville residents. Obviously there are not a lot of Jacksonville residents that come over to Nichols Park, go to the golf course, come over for the fourth of July function, or come over for Prairieland and vice versa.
I’m sure there are some of our residents that travel over for ice cream or for concerts up on the plaza, stuff like that. So we started looking at reciprocity and the ordinances were slightly different in some aspects. The permit cost was the same, but the hours of operation and when the permits changed were different. We just wanted to basically get together on the ordinance and make sure they were exactly the same fees, the same time the permit expires, everything.”
Bradshaw says the opportunity posed by Hansel gave the city a chance to correct some issues they had been experiencing with the city ordinance that was needed to be addressed. He says one of the biggest sticking points was when registration stickers with the city were due to be paid, which was forcing some residents to pay the fee twice in a single year.
“It used to be May one through April thirty. But it really ended up being an issue with people wanting to get out in February and March during good weather. We thought it would be better if we did January one to December 31st. A lot of our other permits are at the same time.
The other issue that popped up is that people were buying a sticker four, five, or six months into the year. We were having to charge them because of the way the ordinance was written. We’d have to charge them $100 then, and then when May one rolls around charge them another $100. So this way at the end of six months with the July 1 date we would cut it in half 50%, so it would be $50 dollars for the rest of the six months. Those were just a couple of the things we wanted to change. Then we wanted to have something actually in the ordinance to reciprocate with each other that basically was just a handshake prior.”
Hansel says the process began after a resident who was having his vehicle worked on at a local shop, asked about the registration, and he was directed to the city to purchase a sticker.
He says the vehicle owner actually lived outside of the South Jacksonville limits in the county and nether the village or city’s ordinances covered county residents. Hansel says when completed, both ordinances will mirror each other in fee and due dates as well as allowing for county residents to purchase stickers.
Bradshaw says he doesn’t believe that will be a large number of users, with the city averaging roughly 50 permits each year. He says he expects that to possibly be closer to 70 this year, so there are enough instances where the agreement makes sense.
County residents living outside of the Jacksonville city limits to the north, east, and west will purchase their permit stickers from the city. Those living east, west, and south of the village will go there for their stickers.
Both ordinances are subject for review at the next regular meetings of the Village Board and City Council