In Perry County, obtaining a permit for an all-terrain or utility vehicle won’t be necessary in a few months.
In a unanimous decision Monday, the Perry County Commission adopted an ordinance that will require owners to instead register the vehicles on their property tax assessment list.
“In lieu of an established fee, all all-terrain, utility and recreational vehicles which are property placed on the owner’s personal property tax assessment list are considered permitted and allowed on Perry County Roads...,” according to the approved ordinance.
“It doesn’t change anything with what can be on roadways,” Kutz said. “The process was archaic.”
“If people are not getting a permit and the cops aren’t issuing tickets, what’s the point of having a permit process,” Kutz said. “State law requires that there be a permit to allow access to all county roads. Otherwise, state law approves only for individuals to be within three miles of their residence. All state lettered, numbered roads. It includes county roads, it could be anywhere. In the city of Perryville, there’s really no law on them. You just have them and drive because the city is not six miles in diameter. If a person lives in Uniontown, they can’t even get to Longtown (with an ATV, or other type of vehicle) and stay within the law because it’s beyond three miles of their residence.”
“It was a silly process, and so many weren’t getting permitted,” Kutz said.
“We can’t require people to have insurance,” Kutz said. “You supercede the three miles by saying, ‘We’re going to give you access to Perry County roads,’” Kutz said. “But if there’s not a permit process they’re not allowed be beyond that three miles. We’re saying that any vehicle added to your assessment list is automatically permitted.”
“Having a four-wheeler permitted is a whole different ballgame than having a UTV,” Kutz said. “The big concern back then was insurance. These people aren’t driving these things off the lot now without insurance because they’re getting loans. They’re paying $15,000 to $20,000 in some instances.
“This basically makes a more convenient process for the taxpayer. At the end of the day we were collecting $1,500 a year on this thing. I can’t pay a dump truck driver for a day’s wage and three loads of rock on a county road for $1,500. The purpose here was to make the process easier on the taxpayer.”
The ordinance will officially go into effect March 1, 2021.
The ordinance states the commission “waives all back taxes and penalties on devices not previously listed on the owner’s assessment list prior to March 1, 2021 for the purpose of issuing the permit only.”
The county began issuing permits July 1, 2007 for $15 per year. The ordinance was modified in 2017 to allow for two-year permits of $30 to reduce the administrative burden on citizens and the county, Kutz said.
There were approximately 150 permits issued in 2020. The majority of those came in June and July following the issuance of Covid stimulus checks by the federal government.
In more typical years, such as 2018 and 2019, the ATV permit total was closer to 50 to 60, Kutz noted.
A prorated refund of any permit fees will be provided to any county resident having a current and valid permit as of March 1, 2021.
Permits were $30 and cover the vehicle for two years and were only available for individuals who pay personal property tax.
Ordinance No. 07-02, when amended in February 2016 by the Perry County Commission, allowed for special use permits for use of county roads by all terrain vehicles as authorized by specified sections of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.
For those issued a violation, it was listed as a Class C misdemeanor.
Operators were to travel at speeds of less than 30 mph on an ATV and speeds of less than 45 mph on utility terrain vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles. When on a public roadway, ATV users are have a bicycle safety flag attached to the rear of the vehicle while UTV or ROHV operators must display a have a headlamp and tail lamp.