McLouth sets more clear regulations for fireworks
by Dennis Sharkey
When residents of McLouth go to buy fireworks next year they may find a smaller selection.
Concerns of councilman Harlan Woodring, who happens to be a fireworks enthusiast, about certain types of fireworks was addressed in the resolution that was published last week.
Woodring’s concern was a particular firework that floats across the sky with a large open flame. However, the language of the new ordinance is much more narrow than what was originally described when the regulation was discussed last month. Woodring had originally stated a firework that burned for a minute.
The ordinance states “Any firework or device that produces an open spark or flame which burns for a duration of greater than 10 seconds and travels six feet or greater in any direction” shall be prohibited.
The ordinance also cleared up an issue that was raised by Police Chief Marcus Koch. The old language of the ordinance allowed for the sale of fireworks a day before they could be discharged. The ordinance now allows for sale and discharge to begin on June 29 and end on July 5.
Not everyone on the council is happy with the changes. Councilwoman Barbara Hasemeier said the days should be more restrictive.
“I am still bugged by July 5,” Hasemeier said. “I just want it gone.”
The council also tightened up the hours that fireworks can be discharged. Discharge was allowed between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight in the old ordinance. That will change to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. except for Fourth of July where the time will be extended to midnight.
The city’s counsel also had concerns that no remedies for violating the ordinance were defined. Fines were set at a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $250.
New language concerning the discharge of fireworks from a vehicle is addressed in the ordinance. Fines increase to a minimum of $250 to a maximum of $500 for the violation.
In other actions:
• The council called a special meeting July 28 to pull back a proposed budget set for publication.
According to the meeting minutes it was discovered that a 2009 ordinance sets the city’s library mil levy at 4.0. The proposed budget had a mil levy of 4.5. Last year’s mil levy for the library was set at 3.731.
• The council met in closed session for 15 minutes in the middle of the meeting after a discussion about paying the bills.
The council voted 3-1 to approve the bills with the exception of a payment to Bartlett Construction for a road and sidewalk project on Cynthia Street. Councilman Jim Moore voted no.
The payment for the project would have been the final payment even though the project was not complete.
After the closed meeting Woodring made a motion to have a majority of the city council approve when a city worker is used on a private contractor job that has been bid out.
However, Councilman George Bowen said he wouldn’t support that and decisions like that need to be left up to City Administrator Carl Chalfant.
“Why are we stepping on the city administrator’s toes?” Bowen said. “That’s what you’re paying him for.”
“Why are we holding the city administrator’s hand?” Moore questioned.
Woodring removed the motion from the floor before a vote was taken.
The particular work in question was part of the project according to Chalfant. Bowen added that if city workers are part of a project then it should be part of the bid specifications.
• Koch reported that the Potawatomi Nation police are reporting a rash of thefts. Thieves are after copper and other metals and have targeted air conditioning units.
Most places being targeted are vacant houses, buildings and churches.
Last week the United Methodist Church in Meriden reported an attempted theft of their air conditioning unit.
“Churches seem to be especially vulnerable,” Koch said. “Keep an eye on your property and your neighbors’ property and make this a concerted effort.”
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