"I just think that people that operate golf carts have to be very responsible in doing so, and the people that choose to do so will be licensed drivers," he said. "I think we can do this safely. I do not want to be killed on a golf cart, so I will drive it safely, and I understand that there is the risk of someone hitting me."
The idea drew some controversy when City Attorney Bobby Gullette pointed out that the state law that allows for cities to pass the ordinance has a provision requiring the town to be within five miles of the golf course. Wilmore meets that requirement, however there is no way for someone in Wilmore to get to the nearest golf course, Lone Oak in Nicholasville, without traveling on a road that has a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour, which is the highest speed limit of a road golf carts are allowed to drive on. He told the council that he believed that the intent of the law was to provide a way for people who live near a golf course to buy a golf cart and take it to and from the course, not to be driving it on city streets for recreation.
Wilmore Police Chief Steve Boven told the council Monday that he had spoken with Sen. R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, who originally introduced the legislation. Boven said Palmer told him that his intent was to allow people to use the golf carts as a cost-effective way to travel.
"When this was formulating, the price of gas was so high that he wanted to give citizens a way to travel cheaper," Boven said. "When it went to the House, that's when the golf course was added in."
Boven also said he had spoken with the police chiefs in Springfield and Winchester, which both have golf cart ordinances, and they said there have been no problems.
Gullette stood by his original belief.
"I certainly can't argue Mr. Palmer as to what his intent was, but the law that has been passed - the one that is in the books - can have but one intent," he said. "There is no reason to have a requirement that communities' roads be within five miles of a golf course if they're not assuming you will drive it there."
As he did at the council's June 15 meeting, however, Gullette agreed that the city has the right to pass the ordinance.
"I think Wilmore finds itself in what one would generally refer to as a loophole," he said. "I do not think that this type of situation is what the ordinance was intended to cover, but the ordinance covers it, and legally, the city can do it."
He also suggested that the council add a provision that it will revisit the issue one year from passing the proposal, so people who paid for these golf carts and their required specifications would not be caught off guard if the city decided to change its mind.
"If you adopt (the ordinance) and they either buy a rather elaborate golf cart or spend hundreds and thousands of dollars retrofitting the golf cart they have with all this equipment, and next year you decided that you don't like it, there might be some sort of claim of vested rights," he said. "A middle ground might be that you do so on a temporary basis."
Council members Jim Brumfield and Jeff Baier each said they were in favor of the ordinance with the addition of some provisions that they asked Boven to add to the document. Brumfield wanted added a couple of permissible streets and excluded a couple more. Baier wanted to make sure that the carts could be driven only between dawn and dusk.
Council members Mary Jo Morrow and Leonard Fitch did not express approval or disapproval, and council member Ed McKinley was not present, so the council decided to table the issue until the July 20 meeting.
Wilmore Director of Utilities and Public Works Dave Carlstedt asked the council to make sure that not only people receiving permits would be taught golf cart safety, but the rest of the town, as well.
"If we move in this direction, you have got to educate people beyond the people that get the permit and a copy of the ordinance that we are a golf cart community," he said. No matter how responsible, you add the inattention of everybody else."