By Margie Plunkett
Gulf Stream commissioners are looking into hiring a consultant to determine the feasibility of burying electric lines and determining how much of the study’s cost the town’s Civic Association would pay.
Burying the town’s power lines would cost roughly $3.5 million, according to Bob Ganger, Civic Association president, who said power outages and safety considerations are behind the move. Underground electric lines would help eliminate outages, particularly during severe weather, he said.
A consultant could cost $25,000 to $40,000 for a study, which commissioners would like to address feasibility with the perspective of trying to save money.
Mayor William Koch Jr. directed Town Manager Bill Thrasher and the Civic Association to “get together and talk about participation of this study as a first step” and determine what the town would pay. The mayor contemplated some sort of taxation may have to be used to pay for it, while the longer term project could involve a municipal bond issue.
The Civic Association has said it would pay for at least half of a study. Ganger said that Jupiter Island’s project cost about $8 million, while Jupiter Inlet Colony, which he said is more comparable to Gulf Stream, was at $2 million to date in burying its lines.
Separately, the town gave final approval of an ordinance to regulate golf carts with speeds under 20 mph, a move to help police enforce responsible driving. State laws already regulate golf carts with higher speeds that require a driver’s license.
The ordinance limits the number of people riding in the cart to the number of seats and prohibits standing, towing and children riding on the driver’s lap. Gulf carts driven at night would be required to have safety equipment including headlights, taillights and turn signals.
While the ordinance does not require a driver’s license, state law doesn’t allow anyone younger than 14 to drive the carts. Golf carts are commonly used in town by residents running errands, taking children to and from school and general transportation. The town had received resident complaints about kids hanging off overloaded golf carts and golf carts towing skateboarders.