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Sparks continue to fly over fireworks ordinance, but no moves made yet

By KERRY STEINHOFER

kerry.steinhofer@amnews.com

Once again, fireworks was a hot topic of discussion at a City Commission meeting on Monday, but after several weeks of discussion, there was no action taken. However, Danville residents are still appearing before the commission with opinions and comments about the ordinance. 

Paul Smiley was among the audience who came to share a few words, and his concern now is about the silent majority. 

“Most people in the silent majority will not provide input,” he said. “I believe with my whole heart that there is a trust factor with this commission. I think people trust that you will do the right thing.” He said thousands of people in this community want something done with this ordinance. 

Along with Smiley, Ernie Holman returned to discuss his views in relation to permits, the sale, noise and his association with Boyle County football games. 

“You’re not going to stop the fireworks during a celebratory time and traditional time,” he said. He added even if the ordinance prohibits the buying and selling of fireworks in Danville, people will do the same thing as before it was legal and go elsewhere to get them. 

“Time would be better spent in other matters that are more serious in the community,” Holman said. 

After a long discussion of back and forth comments between residents and the City Commission about the problem with noise, permits, selling and times, Commissioner Denise Terry ultimately agreed with what Smiley said in the beginning. 

“I don’t feel like this is a very enforceable ordinance because a lot of people have said to me that they don’t want our officers chasing fireworks when we know there is heroin all over the city and county, and so I tend to agree with that, and if we make a complete prohibition on sales, they are just going to go across county and state lines and get them anyway,” she said. “I would prefer our police officers were getting calls to arrest the drug dealers instead of 126 calls about fireworks every night.” 

City Attorney Steven Dexter reminded both Danville residents and the City Commission that the ordinance is still a draft at this point. The whole point of the discussion was meant to help come to some kind of agreement with what they would like to see in the final ordinance. At this point, nothing is set in stone. 

Dexter said the ordinance at this point is at the extreme level. It is up to the City Commission as to what they want the ordinance to state. This pertains to dates and times, buying and selling and anything else they want to restrict. 

Dexter will make changes to the draft and will present the ordinance to the City Commission again for further reading and discussion. 

In other business, the City Commission: 

• approved appointment of new Parks and Recreation Board member Jeff Thornton for a four-year term; 

approval of Danville Creative District’s proclamation to create Art in Education Week;

• discussed an appointment needed on the Ethics Board;  

 heard an annual report from the Housing Authority on what its focus is this year; and

approved an HDR Engineering contract for road projects to widen lanes along Perryville Road.