Supervisors discuss reconsideration of fireworks ordinance

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, October 9 to address a full agenda of items, including the discussion of revisiting the possibility of a fireworks ordinance, consideration of hiring for a Secondary Roads position and a Manure Management Plan update.
During Public Comment, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker briefed the Supervisors about a missing person search that took place over the weekend in the New Albin area and discussed a pioneer cemetery located in rural New Albin.

The Supervisors discussed and reviewed a Manure Management Plan update for Charles Deering for a site located on Highway 52, which was accepted and placed on file. Quarterly reports for the Allamakee County Sheriff's Department and the County Relief Office were reviewed by the Supervisors and accepted and placed on file.

The Supervisors moved into discussion about revisiting the possibility of a fireworks ordinance, with Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer relaying a portion of an e-mail from Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler. Kistler had indicated that someone who purchases first or second class consumer fireworks is allowed to set them off on their own property and is allowed to do so without a permit as no ordinance is in place. She also said that the Supervisors have the authority to establish an ordinance prohibiting the use of first or second class fireworks or prohibiting the times when they can be used.

Kistler's e-mail continued explaining that the Supervisors do not have the authority to limit novelty fireworks, such as snakes and sparklers, and that the use of display fireworks requires the appropriate permit issued by the County, which is covered in the resolution currently in place. Kistler's e-mail asked whether or not the Supervisors wish to prohibit the use of first or second class fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Allamakee County.

The Supervisors and Snitker discussed various cities within Iowa banning the use of fireworks and that little feedback has been received locally following the July 4 holiday this year. Snitker indicated that the New Years holiday will be the next time fireworks can be sold or used, with Supervisor Dan Byrnes recommending that the matter be revisited in February, following the New Years holiday. The Supervisors indicated that re-evaluating the matter next year may be best with updates to the statewide legislation being discussed.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour provided a recommendation to hire Justin Lyons for the Maintenance Person #2 position with the Secondary Roads Department at a pay rate of $18.92 per hour starting October 16. The Supervisors approved the hiring of Justin Lyons for this position.

Ridenour also discussed the final payment vouchers for a Secondary Roads Department project involving the widening of the Great River Road by Skyline Construction between Harpers Ferry and Lansing. The Supervisors approved the final payment vouchers.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed the notice received several months ago from Fauser Energy regarding the company's bankruptcy proceedings and the impact this matter would have on fuel deliveries for the Secondary Roads Department and the County. Ridenour indicated that he received a letter last week from Consolidated Energy Company, which has acquired Fauser, indicating that the current contract with Fauser continues until the end of the 2018 calendar year for diesel and gasoline deliveries. Ridenour indicated that he does not see a reason to give notice of contract termination with the contracted prices being honored and payment being made following fuel deliveries.

Ridenour also discussed vehicles traveling off of the Volney curve in southern Allamakee County, a study being done by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) involving this matter and damage sustained at this location from an agriculture fertilizer spill. Ridenour commented that things are going well with the Secondary Roads Department with the weather allowing for regular maintenance projects rather than disaster recovery. Ridenour indicated that maintenance crews have returned to the five eight-hour days work schedule.

Snitker advised that nursing homes are required to conduct two disaster exercises per year, either full-scale exercises or a full-scale and tabletop exercise, and discussed what planning has taken place for each of the nursing homes within the County. Snitker discussed budgeting and the need to purchase automated external defibrillators (AED) for the Allamakee County Public Safety Center front office, jail facility and the Driftless Area Visitors and Education Center, and potentially other County buildings.

Beyer discussed that auditors are currently working in the County Auditor's office and that absentee voting for the city elections will begin later in the day.

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