Schuyler residents who use utility-type and all-terrain vehicles for snow removal and other activities will be required to get an annual license if a change before the city council is passed.
Schuyler City Council held the first reading of an ordinance April 7 that requires owners of UTVs and ATVs to purchase annual licenses for the vehicles.
The initial cost to obtain a license would be $75 with renewals costing $50 if the license is purchased before Feb. 1, 2016. After that date, renewals would also cost $75.
Chris Langemeier of Land Mark Management and Reality Inc. told the city council he's concerned the new rule will be an unfair burden to businesses that only use these vehicles a few times a year for snow removal.
Langemeier, a former state senator who represented District 23 for eight years, said he supports bills requiring vehicle owners to obtain licenses. However, he doesn’t feel it is right to place the burden on those who don’t use their UTVs or ATVs more than a few times a year.
Langemeier said he hopes the intent of the new ordinance is to make sure those who regularly drive these vehicles on city streets get licenses.
“Prior to the introduction of this bill in the city of Schuyler, many individuals had snowmobiles for the use of snow removal,” he said. “The law enforcement in Schuyler has not challenged that. I think that’s a good policy to have, especially since the city wants businesses to clean our sidewalks.”
He also believes everyone should have liability insurance.
City council member Ted Marxsen said other exemptions that could be looked at include property owners who use these vehicles to spray their lawns with fertilizer and other chemicals.
Council member David Johnson suggested creating a free registration tag that covers these exemptions.
At the recommendation of City Attorney Dick Seckman, the ordinance moved forward without the exemptions added. Seckman said the council should wait to see if any changes to the ordinance need to be made after it takes effect.
“Right now, it is hard to anticipate what problems we will see,” Seckman said. “It might be better to take a wait-and-see approach and figure out how you need to amend the ordinance.”
He also said the council needs to talk to local law enforcement to determine what the goals of the ordinance will be.
In other business, the council approved:
* a retail fireworks permit application filed by Ka-Boomer’s Enterprises Inc. for June 25 through July 4.
* a request from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for a six–month contract extension for a grant to complete the street and sidewalk improvement project along West 16th Street.