Maine Fireworks Permit Fee Questioned

Sept. 3, 2013
A $10 fee, to be split between Jay Fire-Rescue and the firefighter who issues the fireworks permit is being questioned by authorities.

Sept. 03--JAY -- Resident Al Landry told the Board of Selectpersons on Aug. 26 that he would like the Consumer Fireworks Ordinance revisited. In particular, he said he is concerned about the $10 permit fee.

Selectpersons set the fee so that half of it will go into a reserve account for the Fire-Rescue Department and the other half will go to the firefighter who issues the permit.

Voters approved the ordinance in June that sets guidelines for where and when fireworks can be used. It requires those intending to light fireworks, which include firecrackers, to get a permit from a firefighter charged with issuing them.

Four permits have been issued as of Aug. 26, Town Manager Ruth Cushman told Landry.

Landry said he would like to see the fee for the permit eliminated. He also thought the ordinance should only relate to in-town areas.

Prior to the ordinance being enacted, there had been complaints from residents in town and the outskirts about fireworks use, police Chief Larry White Sr. said.

Since it was enacted, the complaints have gone way down, he said.

Resident Michael Schaedler said he didn't feel it was just downtown. The people across the street from him in a rural area of town had a "hell of a fireworks," he said. It sounded like shots being fired, he said.

Having the ordinance and the permit at least makes people think of whether they are doing something safe, he said.

Some fireworks are probably being shot off without permits, since only four permits have been issued since July 11, he said.

"I think it helps people be more cautious and respectful of others," Schaedler said.

"I'm not against the permit. I am against the fee," Landry said.

Selectpersons could have requested an ordinance that banned fireworks or limited them to certain days, Board of Selectpersons Chairperson Steve McCourt said. But they didn't.

There have been no other complaints on the permit fee, he told Landry.

If there are more complaints on the permit fee, he said, they may revisit it in the future. McCourt was opposed to the $10 permit fee.

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Copyright 2013 - Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

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