By JOSIE BODE
The Bainbridge Town Council met Wednesday to discuss issues ranging from tornado sirens to snow emergency parking, but confusion over potential ATV restrictions took center stage for the council and local residents.
"There will never be a four-wheeler driving up and down the streets of Bainbridge if it's up to me," said council president Mike Smith in a dissenting opinion.
Despite concerns expressed by all board members, the council agreed to restrict but not ban ATVs on town streets and compiled a list of possible restrictions to be placed in a future ordinance. Possible restrictions included but were not limited to requirements that all drivers of ATVs must have a valid driver's license, must have proof of insurance, and must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources.
The board reiterated that all vehicles must be deemed roadworthy by state standards and drivers must abide by all state laws.
Furthermore, until a Bainbridge ordinance regarding ATVs is drafted and accepted, Bainbridge will be observing state law regarding ATVs. State laws expressly forbid driving ATVs on public roadways. In addition, the council members clearly stated that the future ordinance regarding ATVs does not deal with golf carts or lawnmowers.
The council also discussed an ordinance regarding parking during a snow emergency. All three council members found the drafted ordinance problematic.
"There should be no parking on either side of the street until snow is cleared to the curb," said Smith. "It's not the town's responsibility to provide parking, but it is the town's responsibility to clear snow."
The council made suggestions to the draft to be submitted to Town Attorney Laurie Hardwick, not present.
The council held the first reading of Ordinance 2007-7, a re-codification of all previous town Ordinances. The measure is designed to bring all prior town ordinances up to date. A copy of all town ordinances is available at town hall for citizens to examine.
In other business, the council discussed the following:
* Bainbridge Town Marshall, Rodney Fenwick, requested permission to purchase two new tires for a town vehicle.
* Bainbridge Utility Superintendent, James Nelson, replaced a $3,500 lift station pump. Nelson also reported that Bainbridge has been experimenting with a new water chlorination system that utilizes tablets instead of chlorine gas. Tabs are safer, according to Nelson, and at this time are being provided at no cost to Bainbridge.
*A cement wall has been constructed in the park as part of the drainage system repair. Nelson reported that the drainage systems has been fixed up to its original design or better, but it will not fully prevent ponding during heavy spring rains.
* The council approved a bid for a new town sign. The total cost of the sign will be $978.
* Hardwick sent two official letters to property owners regarding unsafe structures within the town limits of Bainbridge, but no other action has been taken to date.
* Smith relayed community concerns that residents on the east side of Bainbridge were unable to hear the town's only tornado siren. The council resolved that Smith will research the cost of revamping an additional siren to alleviate concerns.
* Bainbridge will officially annex 15 acres of purchased property. The measure has passed two readings and has been advertised in local newspapers. The annexation will be official on Nov. 17.
* Bainbridge will have a community dinner on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. after the Colt's game.
Bainbridge to follow state law on ATVs