RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday night to regulate golf carts in much the same way that the state deals with automobiles.
The new rules take effect immediately.
Town manager James Bennett said the town was taking a proactive approach to the use of golf carts on city streets.
“It is not a major problem yet,” Bennett said before Monday’s meeting. “But I have seen teenagers driving golf carts with even younger passengers. We want to make sure that the carts are being used safely.”
Under the new ordinance, golf carts may only be driven on city streets from dawn to dusk unless equipped with two headlights and two brake lights.
The carts must be equipped with a rear vision mirror and a rear triangle reflector. The carts are also required to have seat belts.
Drivers must be at least 16 years old and have a valid drivers license.
The town is also requiring all carts to be inspected by the Red Springs Police Department and issued a permit prior to operation. Permits cost $15 a year. If a cart fails inspection, the cost of re-inspection is $10.
The penalty for those guilty of violating the ordinance is a $50 fine.
Town officials said they will review how the the ordinance is working after 90 days.
“We want to see how this will work and if we need to tweak it, we will,” mayor John McNeill said.
Also on Tuesday, the commissioners heard a request to adopt a travel policy that allows the town to pay more than the allowable stipend for meals and travel that involve recruiting industry.
“I am asking the board to consider giving the town manager the ability to exceed the per diem allowed in the town’s personnel travel policy whenever circumstances present themselves in the areas of economic development and for events that involve our legislative bodies,” Bennett said. “These instances will be done with the consent of the mayor and board of commissioners.”
The town currently allows $37.50 a day for meals during in-state trips and $50 a day for out-of-state trips.
“We’re not taking people out for the joy of it,” Bennett said. “We’re trying to get their ear for business.”
The board asked Bennett to provide a written policy on the proposed change for consideration at the July meeting.
“I think if we have a policy in place then the public can get a better idea about how we are trying to improve economic development,” commissioner Eula McNeill said.
In other business, the board voted to:
— Renew its contract with the accounting firm of Thompson, Price Scott and Adams of Whiteville. The town will pay the firm $12,750 for its annual audit.
— Accept a new accounting software contract with Southern Software of Pinehurst. The town had contracted with Harris World for $14,630 annually, but the Greensboro-based firm plans to move to South Carolina. The new company will provide the software for $13,103.11 a year for five years. The contract drops to $4,000 during the sixth year. “This sounds like a slam dunk to me,” commissioner David Shook said.