Divided Mesa council delays vote on fireworks ordinance - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Divided Mesa council delays vote on fireworks ordinance

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Posted: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:30 pm | Updated: 7:54 pm, Thu Dec 9, 2010.

The fuse remains lit on perhaps the most divisive issue the Mesa City Council has taken up this year: fireworks.

At a study session on Monday, the Council put off a vote for that night’s regular meeting. It opted to continue discussion on Thursday, when another study session is scheduled.

“We’re not the only city in this state that does not have an ordinance,” Mayor Scott Smith said. “That’s just how it’s played out. We’ve had more debate than a lot of other cities have, which is why it has taken longer to do this.”

The Legislature, with a law that took effect on Dec. 1, lifted a statewide ban on the selling and use of consumer fireworks. Under the law, cities can restrict or ban fireworks use, but cannot regulate sales.

Some cities have enacted total bans, but opinions differ among Mesa’s council members. Two want a total ban, one favors allowing use around certain holidays. The other members have indicated that consumer fireworks, such as sparklers, are used so often that a ban would be pointless.

It appears unlikely that a fireworks ordinance would garner the six necessary votes to pass with an emergency clause, allowing it to go into effect immediately (and before New Year’s Eve). Most city ordinances go into effect 30 days after passage.

On Monday, many members appeared exasperated at the draw-out process. Not long after the study session, Councilman Scott Somers suggested a newspaper headline on his Twitter page: “Fireworks ordinance explodes in Mesa’s face.”

Smith told the Council that he hopes Thursday’s discussion can be swift.

“If we can come back with specific questions to specific points, so we can deal with this in an expeditious manner, instead of re-arguing things we have already argued, that would be helpful,” Smith said. “I’m not interested in replaying discussions we have had before on this.”

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