Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Council a bit slow, but carriage license renewed

by Chris Schultz

June 27, 2013

The carriage rides will continue.

Caroline Ausman, Burlington, owner of Field Stone Farm and the horse-drawn carriages that ply the city's streets, requested the council renew her license to continue operating the carriages in the city.

And there was no indication that the city council was in any mood to deny her request.

The license was set to expire June 30.

At the June 10 city council meeting, Alderman Sturg Taggart said that the carriages, which move at about 3 mph, are responsible for occasional traffic slowdowns in the downtown.

At Monday's meeting, Ausman defended her carriage drivers. She said carriages are kept between a foot and a foot and a half from the curb, when possible. Ausman said she'd work with the city to do whatever it took to keep her carriages from causing too much of a delay on the city streets.

She said her drivers have noticed that some timid drivers seem to be afraid to pass the carriages. But the drivers do wave cars around the carriages when it's safe, Ausman said.

"In the last 10 years, we have had no accidents," Ausman told the council. "My drivers do a good job getting through town during heavy traffic."

The carriages operate in the city all year long.

Taggart said he didn't intend his criticism of the horses' speeds to mean that he opposed the carriages. He doesn't.

Taggart made the motion to approve renewing Field Stone Farm's carriage license.

Alderwoman Sarah Hill then amended the motion that the carriages should carry a "friendly sign" on the back indicating to motorists that they can, with caution, pass the slow-moving carriages.

City Attorney Dan Draper said the carriages already carry that sign. The slow vehicle signs, an orange triangle on white background, grants following vehicles the right to pass them when safe, even when the road or highway has a double yellow line, Draper said.

Hill withdrew her amendment.

Other council members said they were satisfied with the carriage operations in the city.

Alderman Bill Mott called the carriages an asset for the downtown.

Alderman Alan Kupsik said Ausman was ready to work with the city to solve any problems the carriages might cause. "I think we beat this horse to death," said Taggart, as he asked that the vote on the license be taken.

"Wonderful choice of words, Sturg," said Mayor Jim Connors, as he closed debate.

The license renewal was unanimously approved.