Monticello looks to amend city’s ATV/UTV ordinance

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Monticello will soon have an amended ATV/UTV ordinance that aligns with Jones County’s new ordinance.

     The city council passed the first reading of the ordinance during the Jan. 21 council meeting. (It takes three ordinances and publication of the amended ordinance before it takes effect.)

     Police Chief Britt Smith met with Bobby Krum of Amber, the champion on a universal ATV/UTV ordinance throughout Jones County.

     Since the new county ordinance became official in early December, other communities have followed suit: Oxford Junction, Olin, Wyoming, and soon, Monticello.

     “A lot of communities are simplifying things and following the county,” Krum said. “That way there is one set of rules throughout.”

     Smith said the city had three options in moving forward: no modifications to the city’s current ATV ordinance, establish an authorized ATV route through Monticello, or modify the existing ordinance to mimic that of the county. The council chose to follow the county’s law.

     “It makes sense to adopt the same ordinance,” Smith recommended.

     Once the amendment becomes official, ATVs/UTVs won’t be required to pay the $20 city registration. However, they will be required to register with DNR through the County Recorder’s Office, and meet all the requirements. In a letter to the council, Smith felt it would not be necessary to require two registrations.

     As far as enforcement, Smith said existing city nuisance laws are already in place to handle any issues that may arise. In the five years since Monticello started registering ATVs, though, Smith said the city has not had a single incident.

     With this ordinance amendment, golf carts will still be subject to city registration, slow-moving vehicle signage, and a bicycle flag, which is required by state law.

     Smith said allowing ATVs/UTVs to operate in city limits “creates opportunities for local businesses to generate a new source of revenue by making Monticello a pass-through community.”

     Krum has already been in talks with ATV/UTV clubs in other counties about crossing into Jones County as part of a tourism program.

     Under the new ordinance, ATVs would be allowed on Highways 38 and 151. Smith said golf carts would still be restricted. Also, ATVs/UTVs would be allowed to operate 24/7; golf carts from sunrise to sundown.

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath provided an update on the N. Sycamore Street reconstruction problem.

     Preliminary numbers show the project could cost around $2.5 million. Schwickerath said with a street project of this magnitude, he has some concerns about a contractor completing the entire project within the allotted timeframe.

     “There would be difficulty getting everything done in 2019,” he said of the scope of the project.

     He suggested the city hold off the Sycamore Street block between First and Second streets until the 2020 construction season.

     “At least give the contractor the option,” offered Schwickerath.

     Another option might be to allow the contractor to work on that particular block of Sycamore Street during the week of the fair while the rest of the project is shut down.

     “This would all depend on the contractor and their workload,” added City Administrator Doug Herman. “Offering this flexibility could lower the overall price (of the project).”

     The council was not opposed to either of Schwickerath’s suggestions.

In other city business:

     • The council approved a $2,600 investment in the Fourth of July fireworks for 2019.

     • The council designated the Monticello Express the official city newspaper for publication of legal notices.

     • During the Open Forum, Lisa Folken, director of Kirkwood’s regional center in Monticello, visited with the council about a new career academy in the works.

     “Business Innovation” would give students real-world community problems to solve.

     “They’d be based on community issues,” said Folken, “tangible community problems.”

     She said one example being tossed around is how the current middle school might be used in the future once the new addition is built near the high school.

     Folken urged the council to bring any ideas to her by Jan. 28, when the concepts will be pitched to the students. Then, groups of about four students each will tackle the issues throughout the entire semester.

     “The goal is to find students with something they’ll have a real vested interest in,” Folken said.

     • Library Director Michelle Turnis presented the library’s proposed budget for FY 2020. The library is requesting $122,500 from the city, as well as $2,500, which remains from FY 2018.

     Turnis said attendance at library programs is up across the board for all ages.

     The library received almost $15,000 in donations, grants and memorials last year. The Friends of the Library contributed $5,600 in funding toward programs and guest speakers as well.

     Herman reminded the council that unlike other city boards, the library board is unique in that they set the library’s budget, not the council. “But the council holds the purse strings,” he said.



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