The Harmony City Council reviewed a potential ordinance during its meeting on Tuesday, March 12. The ordinance addresses the use of recreational vehicles, including ATVs and golf carts, within the city limits.

The ordinance would require everyone to get a permit to operate the small vehicles on the public streets. Operators would have to be at least 15 years of age and use of the vehicles would be during daylight hours only.

The ordinance also states, "They shall not be operated in inclement weather conditions or at any time when there is insufficient light to clearly see persons and vehicles on the roadway at a distance of 500 feet."

The vehicles should also display slow moving vehicle signs when being operated on the designated roadways. They would also be equipped with a rear-view mirror to provide the driver with adequate vision from behind.

Another provision of the ordinance states that the number of occupants in the golf cart or on the ATV may not exceed the designed occupant load of one person per seat. This addresses a concern that has been brought up at the council meeting several times in the past when members have seen numerous young people packed into motorized golf carts, some hanging onto the back bumper, driving around town.

While the permit fee was not yet set at the meeting, it was discussed to make it around $25 a year and would fit the same cycle as the pet licenses, which run May 1 through April 30.

If the ordinance is violated, the permit holder would be subjected to an administrative citation with a fine. If the permit should be revoked for continuous violations, the applicant could appeal that decision by visiting the city council, said Mayor Steve Donney.

"We just want to keep kids from getting hurt," said Councilor Jim Bakken regarding the proposed ordinance.

The council members recommended a few wording changes to the ordinance and those will be made once it is sent back to the city attorney. The council will review those changes and will likely approve the new ordinance at its April meeting.

In another matter, City Administrator Jerome Illg told the council that the old squad car was being prepared for sale at a car auction. He explained that the sale would be coordinated through the sheriff's office.

He did mention that it may be kept at the county level and used to transport inmates as it still has low mileage.

Donney asked if local car dealers are given the opportunity to purchase the cars to fix them and prepare them for resale locally. Illg explained that the city used to take sealed bids for the cars when they were rotated out of service, but bids were traditionally low and there was very little interest.

He also noted that since the sheriff's department has taken the cars to auction, the sales have been in the $3,000 to $4,500 range. Illg noted he anticipates a little higher sale price due to the lower mileage on this particular vehicle.

When asked who usually buys the squad cars, Illg said they often go to transportation companies to be used as taxi cabs.

The next meeting of the city council will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the community center.