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Fireworks ordinance gets first reading

By Staff | Apr 7, 2017

Ordinance no. 405 which would change Chapter 9.36 of Rugby’s Municipal Code regarding fireworks got its first reading by the Rugby City Council Monday evening.

The ordinance would change Section 9.36.020 so that permits for fireworks sale and storage would be granted by the city’s fire chief and chief of police.

In a special meeting last week, the city’s Ordinance Committee looked at having Ordinance 405 change Section 9.36.030 of the Municipal Code. That section deals with the deadline of the application for special events permits that would include fireworks use and distribution for display. The deadline would be changed from 10 days before the event to 30-45 days prior.

The committee also looked at a $50 vendor permit fee; adding that fireworks sale and storage violations would be subject to a $150 penalty for the first violation, $300 for the second and $500 along with a three-year suspension of permit for three years for the third violation; information misrepresented or excluded from the permit application would be considered a violation of ordinance and the fines would be $200 for the first offense, $500 for the second and a fine and suspension of permit for three years for the third offense; and sale and storage locations would be subject to inspection.

Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft said the times fireworks could be launched in the city were changed “not that long ago”. In 2012 Ordinance no. 378 changed the times fireworks could be used in the city from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. from June 27 through July 2, from 8 a.m. July 3 to 1 a.m. July 4, from 8 a.m. July 4 to 1 a.m. July 5 and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5. Kraft said he felt any changes in time would be “knee jerk” reactions.

Steinke said that Ward 2 Councilman Randy Fossum and Ward 1 Councilman Bruce Allen Rheault both had “strong feelings” about fireworks being lit off late at night last year.

Fossum said that if fireworks were supposed to stop by 11:59, the time would seem to be “pushed to” 12:30 a.m. and “pushed to” 1 a.m.. Fossum said he preferred an end time of 11:59 p.m. as if fireworks were being ignited later than that the practice could be “shut down at a decent time.”

Rheault said that fireworks being lit in the city seemed “excessively loud” last year and it “got to the point where enough was enough.”

City Attorney Bill Hartl expressed concern with the subject to inspection language in the proposed ordinance and recommended it be taken out of the application.

Fire Chief Dave Schneibel said he requested the inspection language be put in and that the state’s fire code has a specific code regarding fireworks.

Hartl proposed that the inspection language be changed to include “on consent of vendor.” Schneibel asked whether the inspection could be done due to a submitted formal complaint. Hartl said the complaints could potentially come from other fireworks vendors.

Fossum said that if the vendor doesn’t consent to an inspection a potential withholding of permits the next year could be included.

The council approved the first reading of Ordinance no. 405.

With Rugby Mayor Arland Geiszler absent, Council President and Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt presided over Monday evening’s meeting.

Other actions

– The council approved, as recommended by the city’s Finance Committee, dumping sewage into the lagoon with a charge of $20 per thousand gallons dumped, billed quarterly. Individuals wishing to dump sewage must contact City Hall, who will contact Public Works to open the gate to the lagoon.

– The council approved, as recommended by the city’s Recreation Committee, supporting and donating $1,500 toward expanding the nine-hole frisbee golf layout and the use the ball diamonds across the street from Ellery Park for the project.

– The council approved the purchase of internet service at the Rugby Swimming Pool, and Lathem time clocks and cloud-hosting services for the pool and the Rugby Job Development Authority office.

– The council approved the resignation of Public Works Supervisor Rick Larson. Larson will retire from the position effective May 25.

– The council approved abatement applications for Aimee Lehman and Deb Mack.

– The council approved games of chance site authorizations for Northside Lounge and Lee’s Bar.

– The council approved March meeting minutes, bills and financial statements, Municipal Judge’s report, Convention & Visitors Bureau annual report, planning and zoning board meeting minutes, JDA board meeting minutes and financials and Rugby Volunteer Fire Department financials.

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