Fireworks Referendum Should Wait, Says Council

As the previous summer meant a fireworks ban, lawmakers would rather give a revised ordinance the chance to work before they put the use of fireworks on the ballot.

Although admittedly ready to put the debate over whether Muskego should continue to allow the use of personal fireworks, Common Council members weren't ready to put it to an official vote.

Discussion among the members of the Committee of the Whole was relatively brief, with a revised fireworks ordinance convincing many that they needed to allow the changes it held to work.

"I think our policy is good, although you can't legislate against stupid," said Alderman Dan Soltysiak. "I just think we need to enforce it. Changes were made to the policy this past year, but unfortunately we never had the chance to see if they worked."

A drought that took on extreme proportions had fireworks and burning througout the city banned for the duration of the July permit period of the 1st through the 7th.

Alderman Kert Harenda also said he felt the people who took out permits - about 60 in 2012 - were being punished for the misuse of those who didn't. He explained that even though law enforcement personnel felt the use of the fireworks was dangerous, it was also acknowledged that there weren't any incidents in the historical data that indicated a problem with fires or other damage.

Changes to the ordinance include the following:

  • An application for each day of intended use must be filed between May 1 and June 30
  • If the person setting off illegal fireworks can't be determined, the homeowner where the offense occurred will be held responsible
  • Permit requests will be reviewed by the Public Safety committee now, versus the finance committee
  • Any complaints should be filed by July 31, or within 24 days after the fireworks permitting period
  • Law enforcement will have copies of all permits approved
  • Permits must be made available upon the request of a police officer

The changes were recommended at the Dec. 13 Public Safety Committee meeting, and will come before the Common Council at its Jan. 22 meeting to approve.


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