Kingston council says no ATV’s on public property

All-terrain vehicle enthusiasts in the City of Kingston have fewer places to ride after a resolution banning their use in public property was unanimously approved by the Common Council in mid-July. 

The resolution amends the city code to prohibit the use of ATV’s on public and city-owned properties, including public parks. The Common Council’s Finance and Audit Committee will also consider increasing impoundment fees for the vehicles when seized by the city. The resolution passed 7-0, with Democratic 5th Ward Alderman Don Tallerman and Patrick O’Reilly, an unenrolled voter representing the 7th Ward, absent. 

“I’m fully in support of this resolution. I’ve received a lot of complaints from constituents regarding these vehicles on the streets and the nuisance that they have become and the public safety hazard,” said Democratic 9th Ward Alderwoman Michele Hirsch.

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The resolution followed a request by Police Chief Egidio Tinti who asked for the policy to explicitly include public parks. Tinti has also requested that the city increase the impoundment fee from $250 to $2,350 with an additional $650 fine, bringing the total to $3,000, the maximum allowable by law. That matter was discussed during a meeting of the Finance and Audit Committee on Wednesday, July 14, but a decision has yet to be made. Also unresolved is a request by Tinti to more clearly define an ATV to include mini-bikes, dirt bikes and golf carts. 

Also unanimously approved during the July 13 Common Council meeting was spending an additional $240,000 on repair work to reopen a bridge on Elmendorf Street, that’s been closed since Summer 2020. The additional funding brings the budget for the project up to $1,040,000. Democratic 6th Ward Alderman Tony Davis said that despite his opposition to projects coming in over budget in the past, he was convinced that spending the additional money to complete the project was necessary, adding that it amounts to $12,000 each year over two decades. 

“It’s worth the additional cost to get this street back open and this passage secure and safe,” said Davis. 

On Monday, July 12, city engineer John Schultheis told the Finance and Audit Committee that the cost estimates rose with recent spikes in the price of construction materials, but that the project would be awarded to the lowest bidder among five who submitted bids. The project is expected to be completed this autumn.  

The bridge was closed in late July 2020 after a street resurfacing project revealed the deterioration of timber supports. Repairing the bridge will involve pouring new concrete seats in the lower portion of the bridge and building a new portion made of precast concrete panels.