Originally Published: October 15, 2010 9:56 p.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Town Council voted 4-0 Thursday to reduce the risks of fire dangers by banning the use of "permissible consumer fireworks" in the community.
The council took the action, which requires a second reading before the ordinance goes into effect 30 days later, because Gov. Jan Brewer on May 10 signed a law allowing the sale of fireworks statewide. Council members have discussed the issue since June, consulted Assistant Chief Charlie Cook of the Central Yavapai Fire District and instructed the legal staff to draft the ordinance. Mayor Harvey Skoog and council members Mike Flannery and Patty Lasker did not attend Thursday's meeting because they were on official business elsewhere.
The ban will apply to consumer fireworks that include sparklers and ground spinners, Deputy Town Attorney Colleen Auer said. The town ordinance would ban the sale of fireworks to anyone under age 16.
Auer said fireworks vendors must display three signs, including one disclosing the use of fireworks being banned.
She said violators of the ordinance would face prosecution for class 3 misdemeanors.
The ordinance states anyone who uses, discharges or ignites a consumer fireworks or "anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground" would be liable for the costs of any emergency response. The liability would be a maximum of $10,000 per incident.
Councilwoman Fran Schumacher criticized the packaging of the fireworks, calling them "deceptive and geared to little children."
Schumacher said, "They are not supposed to go into the air. You can't control it."
Auer said the state law is "carefully crafted" to tie the hands of local jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to postpone a decision for a year on banning the use of the fireworks. Councilman Mark McBrady cast the sole "no" vote.
Councilwoman Nancy Wright drew an analogy to the Wild West.
"I see all those cowboys and Indians riding and shooting at each other on horses, and the horse not being bothered by it. Why is it an issue?"
Reporter Sue Tone of the Prescott Valley Tribune contributed to this story.