City to allow July 4th fireworks in town


City Hall got a little more heated than usual Monday night, as council members discussed the revised fireworks ordinance.

In one of the Havre City Council's many divided votes, members passed the first reading of the revised fireworks ordinance, 5 to 3.

Council members Pam Hillery, Bob Kaul and Gerry Veis voted against the ordinance for a few reasons.

Hillery began the discussion, explaining that she changed her mind about the ordinance, since supporting it in the Ordinance Committee, after receiving calls from concerned constituents.

Among the problems conveyed was a part of the ordinance that prohibits fireworks being set off "in any city park or on any public sidewalk, street, public right-of-way, public easement or alley, " as these are many of the most likely settings for people to exercise their right to explode fireworks.

Veis said that he is not concerned with people wanting to light fireworks, but he is worried about how it will affect animals. He's also concerned about the debris the fireworks leave behind, littering streets and neighbors' yards afterward.

The city's deputy clerk, Annette Swinney, told the council that she shares Veis' concern about debris, and possible fire hazards. According to Swinney, some of her neighbors enjoy igniting fireworks "that rival the Jaycees', " which rain down warm ash on Swinney's house and the neighborhood.

Both the debris and inordinately large ordinance are addressed in the statute.

One section, titled "Littering illegal, " states that "it shall be illegal to leave debris from discharged fireworks" on any of the public areas already prohibited from lighting fireworks on.

The ordinance also breaks down limits on the size and types of fireworks, including bans on anything that shoots more than 15 feet vertically or 10 feet laterally.

In the end, it was determined by council members Andrew Brekke, Robert Kaftan, Cal Long, Janet Trethewey and Allen "Woody" Woodwick to be worthy of law, and was passed to a final reading next month.


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