If people inside Mesa’s borders celebrate the new year with fireworks, they will be doing so illegally.
An ordinance introduced by the Mesa City Council will not be in place until at least February, meaning that the city’s current fireworks ban will remain in place until then.
The introduction, which passed with a 4-3 vote at Monday’s Council meeting, allows use of “permissible consumer fireworks” — such as sparklers — from June 28 to July 4 and from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1 on private property. A public hearing and final vote was set for Jan. 10, with the ordinance taking effect 30 days later.
A separate vote for an emergency clause, allowing the law to be effective immediately, fell one vote short of the six required.
Council members Dennis Kavanaugh, Dave Richins and Scott Somers voted no on the introduction. But after it passed, Richins voted yes on the emergency clause.
“I didn’t support the use of fireworks, but in order for it to be clear for the public, I think that it should go into effect immediately, and not in February,” Richins said. “That way, the public can be clear and not have a lot of questions about it.”
Vice Mayor Kyle Jones advocated emergency passage, citing the part of the ordinance requiring sellers to display signs indicating the dates fireworks can be used.
“If it passes, it’s going to take effect in February anyway,” Jones said. “So why would those who don’t want it, if it passes, not want it to take effect immediately? If you go around town, you see huge fireworks signs on street corners. And we don’t have any labeling or limitations. It’s wide open.
“The (current) code says you can’t use them, you can buy them, but we know they will be used.”
Monday’s vote is another step toward the finish line in what has been a drawn-out process for the Council.
On Dec. 1, a state law took effect allowing the sale of consumer fireworks, but the Legislature punted to cities to decide on their use. While many cities have banned all fireworks use, philosophical differences on the Mesa Council bogged down discussion.