Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2017

Fireworks amendments will get second reading

Sep 15, 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL

 

The second reading of amendments to the city’s fireworks ordinance will be held when the Washington City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library. Public input on the issue is still requested.

Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said if the amendments pass second reading, it will move on to the last reading before passage during the Oct. 3 meeting. Currently there are petitions circulating both to completely ban fireworks from the city and to not approve the amendments and leave the fireworks ordinance as it is. Since June people have attended city council meetings requesting fireworks be banned. Only one person has come forward to speak in favor of keeping the existing fireworks ordinance.

People wishing to sign a petition to ban fireworks in Washington can contact Susan See at 319-461-3855. The web address for a petition to keep the Washington ordinance the way it is can be found at the web address for the petition is https://jpcarroll12.wixsite.com/washingtonfireworks.

During the Aug. 15 meeting, the council approved drafting the ordinance that would limit the days per year fireworks could be used in town.

The amendment also will limit the kinds of fireworks that can be used, proposing a ban on more powerful fireworks such as mortars.

During the meeting several instances were cited from instances that had occurred in Washington this year that cited the more powerful fireworks as a safety risk.

An ordinance the council approved earlier this year limits fireworks use to the shooter’s own property.

The ordinance also says fireworks can be used between June 30 and July 8 until 10 p.m. and on Dec. 31.

The amendments to the ordinance would allow fireworks to be used on New Year’s Eve, but limit the summer usage to July 3 and 4.

The ordinance was passed quickly after the state approved fireworks usage so some kind of ordinance would be in place before Independence Day.

The council will also vote on the second reading of the hotel/motel tax that voters approved on Aug. 1.

In a previous interview Hinson stressed the tax is imposed on transient lodging and that rental property would not be impacted by the tax.

Revenues from the tax, which are projected to be about $30,000 to $40,000 annually, are state-mandated to be used to promote the area.

It can be used for tourism, community improvement or promotion.

If the council agrees to move ahead with the ordinance as presented, the plan is to bring a resolution setting up the new fund and setting guidelines for a committee to determine the use of the funding raised at the same meeting where the third reading of the ordinance is taking place.

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