Last week, O’Fallon City Council Member Dave Hinman withdrew a proposed ordinance that would have lifted O’Fallon’s ban on personal fireworks. Hinman told the council that his job as a councilman was to always consider what could be done better.
“Sometimes, the answer is that what we’re doing is the right thing,” he said.
Hinman said that council members had talked to countless residents and took a long hard look at his proposed ordinance. “Based on feedback, it’s clear that the majority of residents are in favor of keeping the laws as they stand.” Hinman said that the council would not move forward on his proposed ordinance, and encouraged everyone to attend “the best city fireworks show out there” at O’Fallon’s Heritage and Freedom Fest.
Wentzville Considers a Fireworks Ordinance
Just the night before, in neighboring Wentzville, the feeling about lifting the city’s proposed fireworks ban appeared to be going in the other direction.
Wentzville Alderman Robert Hussey spoke out in favor of allowing fireworks. “I would like to give the choice to the people. I realize there are going to be safety aspects, but we need to trust people to make the correct decision.” Hussey went on to say that not only would he like to see firework permitted, but he would also like to have fireworks sales allowed in the city. The costs of permits for the stand would help offset the enforcement of any restrictions placed on fireworks use, he said.
Newly-seated alderman Matt Swanson said that he had not had a single resident bring up fireworks while he was campaigning. “They don’t talk about it because they do it anyway,” said Mike Rhoades, Ward 2 Alderman.
City Administrator Bob Bartolotta said, “You’re going to get heat either way.” He commented that enforcing the current ban would take considerable resources. The other options, Bartolotta said, were to have no ordinance at all, or to adopt a new ordinance allowing fireworks, but with strictly enforced restrictions.
To do so, he said, the city would have to educate their citizens about the rules for fireworks usage. “We’d need to make examples of some people,” he said. He added that last year, fireworks complaints went on as long as July 9.
The board voted to take no action on the proposed ordinance but decided to tweak the wording for special instances depending upon which day of the week the Fourth of July fell. The board also felt they should reaching out to residents for their input before considering the bill again on May 13.
“With 35,000 people, we need to have more weigh in,” Mayor Nick Guccione said.