Second golf cart ordinance reading protested

Council moves to table ordinance and host public workshop to discuss

By Lisa Phelps
Posted 5/14/24

By Lisa Phelps

GUERNSEY – After protests during public comments at the Guernsey council meeting last week, the second reading of ordinance 2024-03 regulating …

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Second golf cart ordinance reading protested

Council moves to table ordinance and host public workshop to discuss


By Lisa Phelps

GUERNSEY – After protests during public comments at the Guernsey council meeting last week, the second reading of ordinance 2024-03 regulating golf carts in town was tabled pending a May 22 workshop inviting public opinion.

The motion to table was made by councilman Kelly Augustyn and seconded by councilman Joe Michaels. They and councilwoman Penny Wells voted to table the ordinance until after the workshop, while Councilman Dale Harris voted “no” on the motion.

“I apologize for last week’s outburst and stomping out of here. I was upset there was no reading of this ordinance and you voted on it before public comments,” Brad Cook said as he urged the council to table the ordinance and allow public input at a workshop before they vote on the second reading of the proposed ordinance.

Though he understood the council’s position there were safety issues with come youths driving the golf carts unsafely, he didn’t see how this ordinance as written will fix it.

Citing the part of the ordinance that states the cart must be licensed and only driven to and from the golf course for golfing purposes, Cook said, “how does a golf club make it safer? I’m not 12, I’m 65 … the ones who should be in trouble are [the parents or grandparents of those kids], not me… Why am I being penalized with this?”

Among other objections, he also advocated the ease and low cost of a golf cart as a way some people get around town, and this regulation would clamp down on them and force them to use more expensive methods of transportation around the small town of Guernsey.

“You’re not being penalized,” Mayor Delgado said and explained safety is a big reason for the ordinance, citing three instances where “kids” were driving golf carts and ran into electric meters and a car. He also said the previous mayor had several meetings about a golf cart ordinance and he felt it was time to do something concrete about it.

Delgado also stated nothing has been done over the years despite the concern over the years, so he felt the council needed to “lead by example and do something about it.”

Ben Gonzales spoke on the matter and agreed the enforcement side of things begins with the owner of the golf cart, stating, “I totally understand why the safety issue is a thing… I’ve witnessed several kids hanging on a golf cart, running across US 26 back and forth, but enforcement on that side begins with the owner of the golf cart – the one who allows those kids to have the keys.”

He also warned the council the added cost of licensing and insuring the golf carts and not being able to use them elsewhere would be prohibitive to some people, who would quit golfing on the town’s course altogether. Gonzales encouraged the council to wait for more public comment before continuing with the resolution.

Stacia Cook suggested they simply say drivers must be at least 16 years old with a license to drive a golf cart in town to address the safety issue without making an ordinance.

Town attorney Frank Jones was at the meeting, saying he drafted the ordinance based on a sample state policy (at the town’s request), but added he had researched other towns throughout the state and most of them do not have golf cart ordinances. State statute’s motorized vehicle policy exempts golf carts, from licensing and insurance requirements.

In response to inquiries by councilwoman Wells about liability to the town if there is an ordinance, Jones said there is no liability to the town for accidents if they do not adopt an ordinance. As soon as there is an ordinance requiring licensing or inspections by the town, the town assumes a form of liability.

On that note, Dennis Brinkley described again to the council his disgust with the rats he says are overrunning his property from his neighbor’s untended yard, in addition to a bad smell emitted from it, and what he said was a lack of response in solving the problem by the mayor and council.

“You always say ‘you’re right’ – I am right, and you say, ‘I’ll look into it,’ but I never see anything done, and I’m tired of it,” Brinkley said.

There was further discussion and accusations by Brinkley, who wondered when the council is going to act and “do the job you were elected to do to clean up the town…we still live in a pig pen, what are you going to do about it?”

Mayor Delgado said he’d “do something right now. You’ve been complaining, so we have two seats on the council. There is paperwork on the table by the front door. Fill it out and run for office – make your voice heard from this side instead of the other side.”

“Make a difference,” Delgado added.

Brinkley responded, “I’ll make my voice heard right here –I elected the people I want.”

Wells hinted the town may soon need to exercise its option to put a lien on the property to pay for cleanup of Brinkley’s neighboring yard, whose owner has received citation notices for ordinance violations.

Mayor Delgado said he would talk with the municipal judge and make sure the penalty process is streamlined for ordinance offenders.

“Hear that people, he said he would! I’ll keep you to that word,” Brinkley concluded.

A bit of “he said or did, she said or did” occurred after councilman Harris mentioned he didn’t get a copy of paperwork Brinkley brought demonstrating the issue he was talking about. He said he sent it to the “mayor and council,” and he has a phone recording of the mayor reading it out loud, while the mayor said he read something town planner Chuck Porter had given him, and no council member confessed to having seen it prior to the May 7 meeting of the council.

Mayor Delgado concluded the matter announcing he had called the health inspector after Brinkley’s complaints, and the health inspector reported they didn’t find anything, including no foul smell.

In further business, the council chose unanimously to continue a one-cent sales tax that was enacted by the electorate of Platte County in the 1990 general election. Every few years the choice to continue the tax is brought before the councils of the five towns and commissioners of Platte County to determine if they want to continue the sales tax.

Asked by Michaels how much the town is getting, Mayor Delgado responded, $974,000 is raised through the tax to benefit Guernsey, and there has been $5.4 million used to support the town’s equipment and other needs to keep the town running.

The mayor and clerk/treasurer Hillary Dawson recommended the council not sign a proposed post attachment agreement from Visionary, to give attorney Jones the opportunity to go over it more thoroughly.

“Frank (Jones) still had questions because we already have an ordinance for them to use right of way for this and we get paid for it, so we are wondering if it is necessary to add to that,” Dawson explained.

The council tabled that decision.

In his department report, Chief Jay Harrison said he didn’t have much to report, as “things have been pretty quiet, but that may pick up when the weather gets better.”

He gave a copy of statistics put together by Jacobson News about the most dangerous towns in the state. “You notice we are not on that list, but Torrington is number six on the list and Wheatland is number seven – and we are [physically located] between those two,” Harrison said. “I was not really expecting that, but here we are.”

Michaels reported Wyoming Municipal Power Agency “doesn’t have a tariff yet, but there will be a small increase for energy – probably less than two mills. That’s a cent divided in two. This is being driven by what Basin Electric is doing, and they are not doing much of an increase either.”

Mayor Delgado reported the county commissioners chose to adopt a proposal to move their north tower antennae and install updated repeaters which will significantly improve communication for emergency personnel in Guernsey.

He also said Chris Bookout of the Platte County Road and Bridge department will be repairing the south side of the bridge near the golf course this summer, and the Town of Guernsey will be fixing the north side, improving the existing road.

Wells made a motion to reduce the golfing fees by 25 percent for the Guernsey-Sunrise staff appreciation golfing day on May 30. The motion passed unanimously by the council.

Former Platte County Commissioner, Eric Johnston told the council he is running for the senate district 6 seat in the Wyoming Legislature. “…I want to represent more rural Platte County and Eastern Laramie County, and to re-introduce myself to Guernsey and Camp Guernsey. My desire is to listen to the issues,” he said.

Following a short break, the council entered executive session to discuss personnel before they adjourned with no further action taken.

The next meeting of the Guernsey Town Council will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, and the workshop to discuss the golf cart ordinance will be 6 p.m. May 22, both will take place at town hall.