Coun­cil votes in fa­vor of fire­works

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­ton­ By Dana Guthrie

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.

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