Council votes in favor of fireworks
The Benton City Council passed a resolution exempting July 3 and 4 from the city’s noise ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday.
The exemption will only be in affect from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The city also has an ordinance in place that permits the use of fireworks from July 3 to 5. The sale of fireworks is only allowed in Benton from June 25 to July 5.
Based on the city’s ordinance, residents are able to use fireworks from July 3 through July 5 “only on private property of the owner or with the owner’s permission.” Fireworks are allowed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of the threeday period.
While discharging fireworks, adult supervision is required, residents must use fireworks in a “safe and sane manner” and individuals are responsible for their own cleanup.
Fireworks are prohibited within 300 feet of any public park or property owned by the city. Residents could face fines for violating city ordinances.
Although the city allows the private use of fireworks and will also be presenting a fireworks display at its annual Independence Day Bash, one local resident is firmly against any use of fireworks for any reason.
“This is my third year coming before the council,” said Benton resident Patricia Ashely.
In addition to previously addressing the council on the subject of fireworks being allowed during celebrations of Independence Day, Ashley also spoke to the council in March concerning her opposition to a fireworks display that was to be held in honor of the Big Red Baseball Series at the Benton Athletic Complex.
Ashley has presented photographic evidence of fireworks found on her porch that she claims resemble sticks of dynamite.
“I am opposed to the fireworks,” Ashley said. “It’s not safe … I have to tolerate that. I hate the Fourth of July and I have reason to because you can’t brace yourself for what’s going to happen because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Ashley said she feels that the ordinances pertaining to fireworks cannot be enforced.
“It’s catch and release if you catch them at all,” Ashley said. “I think it’s irresponsible. I think it’s unsafe and I want to be safe. I want the council to stop fireworks this year and re-look [sic] at the ordinance and find out what they can do to make us safe. Please, can you keep us safe?”
The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
All meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.