WATERLOO — Fireworks usage would be limited to the Fourth of July under a proposal narrowly endorsed by a Waterloo City Council subcommittee.

But the measure endorsed Monday by a 2-1 vote of the public safety committee may not have enough support to win full council approval.

Councilmen Tom Lind and Jerome Amos Jr. passed a motion asking the City Clerk’s Office to draft an ordinance restricting fireworks usage from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 4.

Fireworks foes drown out supporters

“I think we should severely limit it,” Lind said. “Hefty fines for violations. Nothing on New Year’s Eve. That’s a terrible time to have fireworks. We’re not in China.”

Councilman Steve Schmitt, the third public safety committee member, voted against the resolution, suggesting Waterloo should have more conversations with neighboring Cedar Falls and Evansdale to come up with a consistent ordinance.

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Steve Schmitt

Schmitt

“Cedar Falls is probably going to do the same thing we do,” Lind countered. “We’ll take the lead for once.”

The Legislature legalized the sale and use of consumer fireworks this year for the first time in 80 years, allowing them to be shot off on private property from June 1 through July 8 and again from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3. But cities can adopt more restrictive usage times.

Waterloo councilmen voted 6-1 in May to only allow fireworks use from June 30 through July 4. Some residents have pushed since for a total ban, calling fireworks a nuisance, while supporters have pushed back with calls to continue them.

The ordinance proposed by the two members of the public safety committee wasn’t endorsed by other council members.

Councilman Pat Morrissey said he also wants to have discussions with Cedar Falls and Evansdale before voting in Waterloo. Councilman Tom Powers suggested a two-day window would be better.

“Whatever happens, the citizens are going to blow them up when they can get them,” Powers said. “I don’t know how we can control it other than making some reasonable times.”

Councilman Ron Welper called any restrictions a “waste of time” as long as the law allows their sale.

Police Chief Dan Trelka also wants a uniform area ordinance.

“I would like to see continuity between Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Evansdale; that would certainly aid in enforcement,” he said. “If there was a total ban, I think it would be a nightmare for the police department to try to enforce.”

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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