Perryville plans fireworks ordinance to protect historic buildings

Published 8:35 am Saturday, September 9, 2017

Perryville City Council discussed Thursday the potential of adding a fireworks ordinance to ban some larger kinds of fireworks — specifically the kinds that can be shot through a tube or at an angle, because of the large number of historic structures in the city.

Fire Chief Anthony Young said those types of fireworks are a concern.

“When you talk about the buildings and some of the roof material the older buildings have, those are concerns I have,” he said, adding, “I love fireworks.”

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Clay requested bottle rockets be included, too, because they can be aimed.

“I can be a little bit more specific and say ‘No bottle rockets in the city limits,’ or something like that … something that actually shoots and explodes,” said City Attorney Winfield Frankel.

“We’re going to get some backlash over that,” said Council member Paul Webb, referring to bottle rockets. Frankel agreed it is possible, because “people like them.”

There was also a discussion on the distance from buildings that fireworks must be to be shot off. Frankel proposed 200 feet, based on other ordinances he had looked at.

“When I was typing it up, 200 feet seems like it would be far away from a structure; when you look around Perryville, there’s probably not a lot of buildings that are 200 feet from each other,” he said. “It seems like a big number in writing, but it’s not that far.”

Council members said 200 feet seemed too far a distance. They didn’t establish what a better distance would be during the meeting.

Young said he would like to include a prohibition sky lanterns in the ordinance. Council members agreed.

“They’re dangerous,” said Clay.

The council discussed allowing year-round use of fireworks, but limiting their use to between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., extended to 11 p.m. on July 3 and July 4, as well as select other holidays. Another option was limiting use only to the weeks surrounding specific holidays. 

Currently, the city’s ordinance deals primarily with the selling of fireworks, which is prohibited in city limits. Council members questioned why.

“Is there money we could net? There’s a permit they’d have to file,” Webb said. 

The council requested Frankel write a change or amendment to allow sales with a vendor permit.

“We could generate some income,” said council member Jerry Houck.

The ordinance could also allow individuals or groups to apply for a permit to shoot off fireworks for a public display, such as at the Perryville Commemoration, a festival in the city that occurs the same weekend as the Perryville Battlefield Commemoration.

Council corrects tax rate

The council also held another first reading on the 2017 tax rates Thursday night, setting the real and personal property at 34.7 cents per $100 of assessed value and the motor vehicle and water craft at 40 cents per $100.

The real and personal property rates are up by 1.1 cents from last year’s rate of 33.6 cents per $100, but are the same as the rates set by the council in August.

The motor vehicle and water craft rate is the same as last year’s rate of 40 cents per $100, but up from the rate initially set in August of 34.7 cents per $100.

The change came after the mayor pointed out to the council that the motor vehicle and water craft rate had been 40 cents per $100 for several years.

“I don’t know why we did this last time,” said Mayor Anne Sleet. “My suggestion is that we leave that (at 40 cents per $100) as it is. It’s never been a problem … I don’t think we need to do anything with that.”

Council members expressed some confusion, not realizing they had changed that rate in August. At that time, a vote was made changing both rates to 34.7 cents per $100. The discussion at the time was focused on the real and personal property rate, which went up, because it could make a difference of “almost $3,000 more a year,” Council member Julie Clay said in August.

“We had this whole 45-minute discussion of why we were going to do the tax rate increase,” council member Jerry Houck said.

Council member Julie Clay agreed.

“We’re not in the business of cutting taxes. We wish we could, but we’ve got bills to pay,” she said.

Council members agreed with changing the motor vehicle and water craft rate back to 40 cents per $100 and leaving the real and personal property rate at 34.7 cents per $100. The abandoned urban property rate will be $2 per $100, down from $7.50 per $100. It’s the same as the rate established in August.

In August, the council discussed that rate, with Clay vocalizing that they wanted to make the ordinance less “punitive.” 

“I feel like we need to be in rehabilitation rather than punishment,” Clay said in the August meeting.

A special-called meeting will be held later this month to have second reading on the revised tax rates.

911 dispatch committee formed

At the request of Young, the council also discussed talking with officials from the Danville 911 call center officials and Garrard-County-based Bluegrass 911 to go over what the agencies have to say regarding a possible shift in 911 service for some areas in Boyle County.

Boyle County Fiscal Court is officially pursuing a switch from the Danville 911 center to Bluegrass 911 for callers in the unincorporated portions of Boyle County. Perryville and Junction City would in theory be able to pursue the same switch if they wanted to.

“The city is going to have to make a decision in the future,” Young said.

Council members decided to establish a 911 committee, consisting of Police Chief Parker Hatter, Young, Frankel, Mayor Sleet and council members Webb and Brian Caldwell, for the discussions.

The City of Danville wants agencies partnering with them to have signed contracts by Jan. 1.