Get those golf carts revved up, Belgium

Village to require annual inspection and registration sticker to allow vehicles on its streets
Ozaukee Press staff

After perhaps a more complex and lengthy process than anticipated, the Belgium Village Board has approved an ordinance allowing golf carts on its streets.

The idea came up months ago when all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles were approved, but golf carts are a separate issue.

The board initially didn’t want to require golf cart operators to have a driver’s license to allow one village resident with special needs to get around on a cart, but a wrench got thrown into that plan.

Village Attorney Gerry Antoine, who researched the law, discovered that the golf cart section of the state law doesn’t address driver’s licenses, but state statute requires a license to operate a motor vehicle on a public street.

Antoine said he looked at several golf cart ordinances across the state, and all but one require driver’s licenses. That, however, is irrelevant because state law supersedes municipal ordinances.

State law has some exemptions to the driver’s license requirement — such as for specialized vehicles — but golf carts don’t fall into that category, Antoine said.

Village Treasurer Vickie Boehnlein said state law allows the use of all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles without driver’s licenses. The village approved allowing those vehicles on its streets last year. Drivers born after 1989 without a license are required to take a safety course, and an adult has to be next to them when driving until they are 16.

“It’s not a great option when you have to spend a lot more money, but it is an option,” she said.

Antoine chalked up the ATV/UTV exemption to a good lobby.

Jim Jasen, father of the young man who wants to drive a golf cart, found it odd that operating ATVs and UTVs don’t require licenses.

“So I can go out and buy a more dangerous vehicle for my son to drive and that will be OK?” he asked.

“There are a lot of laws that don’t necessarily make sense,” Antoine said.

“I agree,” Jasen said. “This is our system nowadays. We do stupid things.”

The Village Board tabled the ordinance last month in hopes of finding a way to accommodate Jasen’s son, but realized there isn’t an answer.

“The way it looks there isn’t a whole lot we can change,” Village President Pete Anzia said at a Committee of the Whole meeting on March 29.

The committee recommended the ordinance for approval, and the Village Board unanimously passed it on Monday.

In a separate motion, the committee recommended and the Village Board approved required golf carts to be registered by the village.

Anzia originally questioned why ATVs and UTVs don’t need to be registered but golf carts do.

“There are a lot more of them than golf carts,” he said. “Why do we have to keep track of them?”

ATVs and UTVs, however, are registered through the state. Golf carts are not.

The village had researched the price of stickers and determined they would cost $5.

The board agreed to charge golf cart owners $5 for the stickers and have the village marshal do yearly inspections on the carts to make sure they have working lights and brakes, along with a slow-moving vehicle sign.

Clerk Julie Lesar said she would let people know when the stickers arrive.

The stickers are good from July 1 to June 30 each year.

“This turned into more of a conversation than I thought it would be,” Anzia said at the Committee of the Whole meeting.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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