By ERIC X. VICCARO
Utility vehicles are a popular mode of transportation throughout Ste. Genevieve County.
It’s not uncommon to see one of these motorized units driving down any number of downtown streets.
The Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen has been discussing utility vehicles (UTVs) at recent work sessions.
A final draft of a possible changed ordinance concerning UTVs has been placed on the agenda for a Thursday, Feb. 25, work session following the regularly scheduled board of aldermen meeting.
The current UTV ordinance can be found in Section 340.250, which covers the operation of such a vehicle — as part of miscellaneous driving rules.
The city allows for UTV operation by government entities, for agricultural or industrial use between sunrise and sunset and those who have a permit purchased from the city clerk for $15 per year.
City administrator Happy Welch said city leaders are looking at extending the lease to two years, with a $30 fee.
Welch said the city may “allow a [Ste. Genevieve] County UTV permit to suffice within city limits,” but that’s not set in stone yet.
The city administrator reported the issuance of roughly 15-17 permits during 2020.
Once purchasing a permit to operate a UTV, a driver must affix a sticker to the front left fender of the UTV.
People who apply for a UTV permit must be at least 21 years old, possess a valid driver’s license and present a copy of a current paid personal property tax receipt — or a waiver from the county collector — containing the vehicle.
In cases of law enforcement, the operator must present a valid insurance identification card displaying liability coverage for said vehicle, as stated in sub-section C of the city ordinance.
It doesn’t appear that UTVs are subject to the same inspection procedure that motor vehicles must adhere to — however the ordinance outlines other specifications.
Other key areas of the city ordinance also indicate UTVs must be driven at 30 mph or less, functioning turn indicators, a safety flag, seat belts, brakes in working order, a muffler that’s up to snuff, working head lights and a United States Forest Service-qualified spark arrester.
As with other types of vehicles, UTV operation also includes a section on violations — with the maximum fine of $500 and/or incarceration of up to 30 days in the (Ste. Genevieve) County jail.
Ward 1 Alderman Gary Smith indicated he’s concerned about possible noise pollution during the work session from Feb. 11.
Alderperson Susan Johnson, also of Ward 1, questioned whether updating UTV permits on a yearly basis was burdensome for city staff.
Ste. Genevieve deputy county clerk Michele Gatzemeyer provided the Herald with information on how the county handles UTVs.
Interested UTV drivers must fill out an application, with name, address, the year, make, model and VIN number of the UTV, insurance company and the appropriate signatures.
The cost of a county permit is currently $30, running for two years. The individual also must sign a waiver of liability, and comprehend a list of UTV permit requirements.
At the county level, operators may be as young as 18 years old, with a valid license, proof of insurance, property tax information.
According to the “spec” sheet provided by the county, an UTV permit allows for it be ridden on county roads — but not on state lettered roads, highways such as Highway 32 or interstates.