No December fireworks in WC

City officials reminds residents no fireworks can be discharged over the New Year’s holiday

Webster City residents wishing to celebrate the New Year will have to do so with out fireworks, according to city officials.

The City Council revised the fireworks ordinance in October, prohibiting the use of fireworks around the New Year’s holiday.

The decision stemmed from a rise in calls of service to the Webster City Police Department over the Fourth of July as well as a large number of concerned citizens who voiced their opposition to the high volume of fireworks discharged.

“Enough people came to the town hall and enough people contacted both the city as well as council members that the council wanted to amend the fireworks ordinance and make it more restrictive and limit the use of fireworks to essentially around the Fourth of July holiday season,” said Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez, city manager.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, the Webster City Police Department received 103 complaints that were fireworks-related. This increased the volume of calls for service for the week of July 1 to 8 by seven percent.

“On the New Year’s holiday, there is already a higher number of calls for residents for disturbances,” said Ortiz-Hernandez. “That was the other factor in not allowing fireworks. We didn’t want to further burden our law enforcement. They may be challenged with a high number of calls already.”

The reasoning behind the council’s decision to limit fireworks discharge to Fourth of July is to keep residents and visitors safe this holiday season.

“I would relay to people certainly there was a lot of information that the council had to consider in making a decision. Ultimately they felt by not permitting, it would be in the best interest both the residents and visitors when they come here,” Ortiz-Hernandez said.

“There didn’t appear to be a great deal of interest from people to discharge over the New Year’s holiday,” said Ortiz-Hernandez.

Ortiz-Hernandez also cautions residents to remember there is a penalty for those who choose to violate city ordinances.

“Anyone that is caught violating the ordinance – the ordinance reads it will either be a misdemeanor criminal offense or municipal infraction,” said Ortiz-Hernandez. “It depends on the severity and what the courts are treating things as.”

If an individual were to be cited with a municipal infraction, the penalty is $750.

Although fireworks cannot be discharged within the city, they can still be sold with the appropriate permit at specific locations.

“Originally when the state law was passed and it applied to the sales of the fireworks,” said Ortiz-Hernandez. “It permitted the sale of fireworks for a period roughly June through the Fourth of July and then a period between December and January around the New Year’s holiday. The city still controlled – had the ability to regulate – the use and discharge of fireworks.”

“The state just regulates the sale of fireworks. We can’t control or pass an ordinance that regulates the sale of fireworks,” Ortiz-Hernandez said.

As of Dec. 7, the city hasn’t received any requests for permit applications to sell fireworks.

“It would probably be difficult for anyone seeking a business that would want to sell fireworks knowing that they cannot be discharged here,” Ortiz-Hernandez said. “You may not have the customers that you would in other communities that would allow it.”

As Christmas and New Year’s approach, Ortiz-Hernandez hopes that residents are able to have a safe season of celebration.

“I’d to remind people to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We hope everyone is able to enjoy themselves on these holidays,” Ortiz-Hernandez said. “I hope they understand that by not allowing fireworks to be discharged the city is keeping with trying to maintain a safe and vibrant community.”