Fireworks will be allowed in Gardner on July 3 and 4, according to an ordinance passed at the March 7 city council meeting.
Prior to the change the discharge of fireworks and firearms were banned within the city limits.
Review of the city’s fireworks ordinance began in June, 2015, when Rich Melton, councilmember, suggested that repealing the fireworks ban could benefit the city’s budget as an extra revenue stream, according to the March 7 agenda. And in February, 2016, Jim Pruetting, police chief, presented information regarding potential revenue from permit application fees and sales taxes collected, as well as prevailing reasons most cities ban fireworks.
No public hearing or Town Hall meeting was held regarding the issue, although city staff, under the council’s direction, did seek out residents to provide public comments.
Under the new ordinance, the sale of fireworks would be permitted from June 28 thru July 4 within the city limits. An application fee of $1000 for each location would be charged, and the applicant must provide a current valid certificate of insurance for at least $1 million in insurance.
Fireworks could only be discharged July 3 and July 4 from 10 a.m. until midnight. Violations would be considered an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine in an amount not to exceed $500 and/or confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed one month.
If a burning ban is in effect by the Governor, Mayor, Fire Chief or Johnson County Emergency Manager, the sale of fireworks could be suspended while the ban is in effect.
The original fireworks ordinance, in addition to fireworks, specifically banned the discharge of firearms within the city and violation was considered an unclassified misdemeanor. The new ordinance does not specifically address firearm discharge on the holiday.
The council approved the new ordinance 4-1 with Kristina Harrison, councilmember, casting the “no” vote.