The Madison County Board of Supervisors voted to draft a model ordinance dealing with children’s safety and golf cart usage.
Representatives from several Madison County subdivisions requested that the board take action to control underage golf cart drivers in Madison County neighborhoods.
“This is about child safety,” Trey Petro explained to the board.
Petro of Ashbrooke, Bill Buhner from Providence, and Tommy Guest from Lake Caroline were all present for the meeting as Petro presented his concerns to the board. Gray Hawk subdivision and Still House Creek also sent letters to the board stating their support of an ordinance.
The board will work with Sheriff Randy Tucker and representatives from the Madison County Property Owners Association and Homeowners Association, to draft the model ordinance.
That ordinance could require an age limit and safety equipment for golf carters. The ordinance must be passed by the legislature. If so, the bill would grant Madison County the authority to enact county-wide regulations specifically for golf cart use.
According to Madison County Board of Supervisor’s attorney Mike Espy, since 2018 the county has had the authority to enact county-wide ordinances affecting low speed vehicles. Low speed vehicles are defined as having a license plate and turn signals. Because of these discrepancies, the county doesn’t have the exact authority to control golf carts.
“Several subdivisions associated with the Madison County Property Owners Association have mentioned that children are driving golf carts without parental supervision. This is a major problem,” said Petro.
“It’s basically the same in each subdivision, tending to escalate in the spring and summer each year. Children are running stop signs, pulling out in front of automobiles and driving recklessly.”
Throughout the year, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received numerous complaints about dangerous behavior and several homeowners associations received them as well.
On August 1 this year, the sheriff’s office began enforcing more patrol presence in the subdivisions. This produced positive results.
In 2017 the city of Madison created an ordinance controlling golf carts that was passed into law by the legislature. That is what the county plans to model theirs after.
However, as pointed out by Sheriff Tucker, an ordinance may not supersede the state law.
“My suggestion would be to ask Representative Jill Ford to lobby the legislature to either amend or craft new legislation to include county jurisdictions. It would be that simple,” said Sheriff Tucker.
“Then you could come back and apply it based on those restrictions under that statute.”
If the state’s laws requirements for golf carts are different—less restrictive—than the ordinance passed, it will be difficult for communities to enforce rules for golf carts because the problems are still legal at the state level.
So, Sheriff Tucker pointed out that the legislature has already laid the groundwork for the ordinance with their current law dealing with golf carts.
After passing the motion declaring a resolution to craft a model ordinance and present it at the next meeting, the board will spend the next 30 days figuring out what the current statutes are for golf carts under Mississippi Law and see if they line up with the county’s needs.