Safe and Sane fireworks available here by Independence Day?

May 28, 2019

NEEDLES — An evolving ordinance to allow ‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks to be sold and used in the city seems to be gaining traction among city council members.

Four councilors voted for the measure May 14; as continued from the meeting of April 23 when there would not have been enough votes for approval.

Primarily designed for use as a fundraiser, licenses to sell fireworks would only be granted to non-profit organizations such as church, fraternal or school groups.

Both the county sheriff and fire departments have warned against allowing fireworks of any sort.

Councilor Tona Belt cast the only dissenting vote in the May 14 meeting, citing safety concerns. Vice-mayor Ed Paget MD was absent.

The ordinance has undergone changes since the idea was first floated back in March. Some examples:

• City Manager Rick Daniels told the council May 14 that once purchased, the latest iteration of the ordinance would allow use of Safe and Sane fireworks at any time during the year. The measure as described in the council agenda would only allow use around New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

• Councilor Clayton Hazlewood asked further revisions to allow all non-profit organizations in the city to apply for a license to sell the fireworks. As drafted, the ordinance would only have allowed three.

As written and as yet unchanged, the ordinance restricts sales and use to ‘Safe and Sane Fireworks’ as licensed by the state Fire Marshall; only allows sales from noon six days before until noon two days after Independence Day; requires sellers to be at least 18 years old with adult supervision; prohibits use of the fireworks within 10 feet of a residence; allows establishment of a joint use area for groups to gather to discharge the fireworks; and establishes penalties and license terminations for non-compliant users or sellers.

Hazlewood also raised concerns about license cost, which he said should be minimal; Daniels suggested a $50 charge to cover city inspection and processing costs. A large part of the ordinance is devoted to describing who would be allowed to sell the fireworks; essentially non-profit organizations primarily organized for “veterans, patriotic, welfare, civic betterment, athletic, educational, youth development or charitable purposes.”

The second reading, with revisions made, is expected to come before city council in the May 28 meeting. If adopted the ordinance would typically take effect in 30 days, which could allow sales around Independence Day this year.

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