FAIRMONT — On Jan. 1, golf carts could be par for the course on Fairmont roads.
The town Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will allow the “cost-effective” and “energy- efficient” carts past the putting green and onto asphalt in 35-mph zones. According to the ordinance, which was initially proposed by Commissioner Wade Sealey and goes into effect at the start of 2013, the carts cannot travel faster than 20 mph.
“Gas is so high that people are looking for alternative ways to travel and save money,” Sealey said.”People can take an electric golf cart and run it to the grocery store or the pharmacy and not worry about filling up with gas.”
The ordinance requires that the cart be registered and inspected annually by the Fairmont Department of Public Safety at a cost of $25; that the driver of a cart be at least 16 years old and hold a valid driver’s license; and that the owner of the cart hold liability insurance in the minimum amount required by the state.
Golf carts without lights will be allowed to operate from dawn until dusk with the use of hand signals to signify a turn or stop. After dark, the carts must be equipped with headlights and a rear red lamp or two reflectors. Golf carts will not be allowed to operate on sidewalks or on private property next to the road.
Violations will result in a fine up to $50, according to the ordinance. If a fine is not paid within 10 days, or if six violations occur in a year, the cart’s permit will be revoked.
Police Chief Danny Parker said that because the ordinance is “pretty cut and dry,” he doesn’t anticipate problems enforcing it.
“It’s just going to be new,” he said. “… It’s just the citizens of Fairmont getting used to it, ‘cause we’re going to have a lot of complaints at first … but as far as issues with it, I don’t think we’ll have many.”
Also on Tuesday, the board approved a towing and recovery policy which will regulate the Police Department’s on-call wrecker services.
The policy mandates that a wrecker service that wants to be on the town’s rotation must answer calls for service seven days a week, 24 hours a day and respond within 30 minutes; allow the vehicle’s owner to collect the vehicle from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and not charge a storage fee on days the business is closed; and have proper safety equipment.
The board voted to include in the policy that no employee of the wrecker service can have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor after Commissioner J.J. McCree said that those with a criminal history should not be allowed access to a vehicle owner’s personal items.
In other action on Tuesday, the board:
— Recognized Town Clerk Jenny Larson on receiving state certification.
— Introduced Eddie Locklear as the grand marshal for the Fairmont Farmers Festival.
— Reappointed Steve Floyd to the ABC Board for a three-year term.
— Approved a request from the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce that it be allowed to sell alcohol at a “Red Solo Cup Hoe Down” at the Fairmont Community Park on Oct. 19. The event will feature a free concert by Coco Loco, a local party band.
— Adopted a resolution to refrain from action on a bid for property on Iona Street until Norma Mercer, the bidder, retains an attorney. The commissioners wanted to make sure that Mercer, who has lost her interest money in the property in the past, understands the process for bidding on properties.