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Council Tables New Firework Ordinance

By Nick Davis, December 06, 2017

The Ottumwa City Council tabled a vote Tuesday night that, if approved, would have expanded when fireworks can be used around the New Years Holiday.

At issue was an ordinance that would have expanded the use of fireworks by adding two additional days, December 29th and 30th, when fireworks could be used. The ordinance did not affect the June and July time frame to use fireworks.

Much of the council seemed concerned about a number of complaints received regarding the use of fireworks.

“I have a couple of concerns, number one, we spoke with Katy King, the city’s administrative assistant, and her number 2 call volume issue this year was the fireworks,” Councilman Marc Roe commented. “Most of those people wanted to see a more compressed time frame than we had for the fourth of July.”

Councilman Meyers added that he believe people will use fireworks regardless of what the city puts into an ordinance.

“I served on that committee,” Meyers added. “One of the components that came out of it was that there were just as many people who were for [fireworks] as there were against. But one of the issues on the committee was the problem of enforcement. The fact of the matter, the state has made it legal, and it’s going to go on.”

Fire Chief Tony Miller agreed, saying enforcement is a problem state wide.

“Ottumwa has the same problem as everyone else in the state,” Miler responded. “It’s the enforcement. Very few cities are going out and writing citations. It’s a problem statewide, nobody is enforcing it.”

The council voted 4-1 to table to ordinance, with councilman Bob Meyers voting to move the ordinance forward.

The vote means Ottumwa will retain its current fireworks regulations, which allow the use of consumer fireworks only on New Years Eve from 4:00 P.M. until 12:30 A.M., and for a period of approximately three weeks in June and July.

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