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Residents speak up about fireworks

Block parties, citations discussed

POSTED June 14, 2017 3:14 p.m.

HOISINGTON — Patrons attending the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday asked council members for some answers. They wanted to know what if anything the council had in mind concerning applications for block parties for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. They also wanted to know how long the council was prepared to allow the noise to go on this year.
The city ordinance allows fireworks to be discharged in the city only on July 4, but for the past two years, because the holiday fell on what for many amounted to a three-day weekend, the council made exceptions and allowed the fireworks on both July 3 and 4. Patrons attending were concerned for their pets having to endure the noise for an extended period.
They were also unhappy that some of their neighbors failed to clean up after their celebrations last year, leaving them to deal with the mess.
“We’d like to request only one day of fireworks, for the sake of our pets, for the sake of the mess, and for the sake of fire danger,” one patron who did not identify herself said.
Council member Mike Aylward was vocal, agreeing with the patrons that Tuesday only would be sufficient. He also suggested that permits for block parties be denied to applicants who failed to pick up their mess in 2016, leaving it to their neighbors to deal with.
To underscore the problem, another patron who did not identify herself shared the story of how two different neighbors last year had used a leaf blower to push all the debris from their yard into the yard of a rental she and her husband own.
‘Their yards look wonderful,” she said. “I, on the other hand, start cleaning up at 7 a.m., and I might be done by 10 a.m. It’s not fair.”
She noted that not only is the fireworks debris blown onto her property, these neighbors allow their children to write messages, both profane and otherwise, onto the driveway and sidewalk of her property with used smoke bombs.
City Administrator Jonathan Mitchell asked the patrons to please call in complaints to the police department so that citations can be issued.
“Then we can take action,” he said. “We have to have a formal complaint in order to do that.”
He also encouraged all residents celebrating to do so responsibly and courteously.
Council member Chris Smith pointed out another cleanup concern. If the debris does not get cleaned up right away, and a heavy rain comes, it can all be swept into the city’s sewer system, and that can be a problem also.
No formal action could be taken that night as the subject was not on the agenda. It will be an agenda item at the June 26 meeting.

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