East bound and down for golf carts

Nick Vlahos

With greens fees waived, all apparently is well among Metamora residents who use golf carts to traverse village streets.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Village Board approved modifications to an ordinance that governs golf-cart usage. Owners will need to register their carts, provide proof of insurance and have the police perform a one-time inspection. There will be no charge.

An earlier version of the amended ordinance called for a $25 registration fee. That provision and others prompted three or four cart owners, most of them elderly, to complain vociferously during a board meeting last November. Subsequent meetings and discussions led to the revisions, village attorney Mike Tibbs said.

"This probably addresses some of their concerns," he said. "The primary thing is there's no fee involved and the inspection process changes.

"A lot of it is noncontroversial and consistent with state law. It's an innocuous amendment to me."

The board approved the changes unanimously, with no discussion. Aside from a Journal Star reporter, only two members of the public attended the meeting.

Tibbs isn't sure how many people use golf carts to get around town. The carts can't be used on township, county or state highways, nor on village streets where the posted speed limit is greater than 35 mph.

"We listened to the owners," Village Trustee John Heinz said.

In Bill Belshaw's absence, Heinz was acting village president. Belshaw has been hospitalized at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria as the result of a fall last week, Heinz said.

Complications from that fall put the village president in intensive care until Tuesday, according to Heinz.

"He called me last night and sounds strong," said Heinz, who isn't sure when Belshaw will be released or when he'll resume his duties.