Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 18, 2018

New London delays decision on firework protocol

Residents push against following state code on firework use
Jul 06, 2017

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


NEW LONDON — As firework tents began popping up across the area and Iowa residents began purchasing and shooting off fireworks legally, the City of New London decided no action was the best action when it came to dealing with the new State Code.

During the June city council meeting, the council members decided to let their previous ordinance, which forbid the use of fireworks within city limits, stand for the upcoming holiday and address the issue at a later date. That date was supposed to fall one day after the firework favorite holiday.

However, the issue was tabled Tuesday night.

Lori and Mike McBeth both spoke during the council meeting’s open forum regarding the city adopting a new firework ordinance.

“I’m speaking tonight to ask the council to table the vote on lifting or modifying the ban on fireworks,” said Lori.

Lori, who had a prepared speech, asked the council to keep in mind the number of firework-related accidents in the area over the years and the traumatic affects the explosives have on children and animals.

Lori also suggested having some kind of poll vote to see where citizens stood on the issue.

Her husband, Mike, added that if the city were to “tweak” their existing ordinance, he hopes the council keeps in mind that Independence Day is celebrated once a year, and the use of fireworks should coincide with that.

In his police report, Police Chief Ryan Wilka said he didn’t have many issues with residents shooting off fireworks.

“The people were under the assumption that since the state passed (legislation legalizing the use of fireworks) we had here as well,” said Wilka. “When we told them it wasn’t, we never had to go back more than once to anybody.”

City council member Dan Berner said he didn’t want to make any kind of a hasty decision tonight and since the Fourth of July had already passed, a vote Tuesday night didn’t seem pertinent.

Council member Greg Malott asked the city attorney how much leeway the city would have implementing its own ordinance since the state had legalized the sale and use.

Steve Ort, city attorney, said the state code allowed municipalities to make their own rules for the use — meaning they could set strict times and days fireworks could be used or restrict the use completely. Cities, however, could not ban the sale of fireworks, he added.

Before officially tabling the item, City Clerk Kasi Howard did ask the council to consider one thing. “When and if we make (fireworks) legal, we add it to our municipal infractions that way there’s a set (fine) of $50, $75 or even $100 if (police officers) have to go back and talk to a resident,” said Howard. “Food for thought for later.”

More information from Tuesday night’s council meeting will be printed at a later date.

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