Peabody City Council approved the usual set of regulations regarding the discharge of fireworks in the city limits for Independence Day.
Fireworks may be discharged inside the city limits July 1 through July 4, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.
“With the Fourth falling on a Wednesday this year, we will be cutting it short the night of the Fourth,” Police Chief Bruce Burke said. “Usually we allow the discharge of fireworks until midnight on the Fourth, but Thursday is a workday for most people and we will enforce the 10 p.m. cutoff.”
Fireworks can be discharged only on private property with permission of the owner or the legal occupant.
“No public or city property can be used for shooting fireworks,” Burke said. “That includes the parks, alleys, and city streets. And all trash should be picked up after the fireworks are discharged.”
Only class C fireworks can be discharged in the city.
Fireworks cannot be shot within 50 feet of a fireworks stand, a gasoline filing station, or in, into, or under any motor vehicle.
“Nor can they be thrown from any motor vehicle,” Burke said.
The chief of police, fire chief, or their authorized agents may seize and confiscate all fireworks which may be possessed or used, that are in violation of the city ordinance.
Burke reminded the council that the ordinance is the same every year with the possible exception of the ending time for the discharge of fireworks on the Fourth itself. When the holiday falls on a weekday, the cutoff time is 10 p.m.
In other business:
- Preston and Lisa Hodges announced plans for the 91st annual July Fourth Celebration and requested some reserve police officers to help with security. Burke said that since the Fourth is on a Wednesday, three additional officers from 9 to 11 p.m. at a cost of $360 would be enough. The city approved paying for half the cost of the officers.
- The council appointed Preston Hodges and Brian McDowell as co-directors of the July Fourth fireworks show. Both are certified to handle pyrotechnics.
- In a related issue later in the meeting, the council voted to approve a parking on ban on Peabody Street for the July Fourth Celebration. The ban will be temporary and signs noting the ban will be installed before the holiday.
- Marion County Commissioner Randy Dallke and Marion County Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford attended the meeting to clarify some misunderstandings about the roadwork the county did on Peabody Street. After discussion, the council agreed to meet with county representatives again when working on the 2014 budget to see if a chip-seal surface could be done for the street. The cost would be split evenly between the city and county since Peabody Street is equally divided between the two.
- Public Works Director Darren Pickens announced that with the help of Frank and Janice Woodruff, city employees had begun taking down the 100-year-old pine trees at City Park. There are 12 trees left to remove.
- Council members also heard that vandalism has increased in the west areas of the city park and that people are destroying plants in the flower beds. Approval was given to use additional signs to warn of surveillance camera use in the park in hopes of deterring the vandals.
- Roger Charles, librarian at Peabody Township Library, was at the meeting to request an ordinance be created to protect the library and certain downtown businesses in the event of “theft of services.” Charles said a library patron removed about $500 worth of materials from the library and then loaned them to another individual who lost or sold them. Without an ordinance that addresses the theft of loaned or borrowed property, charges cannot be filed against the responsible parties. Charles said the same ordinance would protect Peabody Market and Peabody Hardware and Lumber, both of which loan and rent equipment. After discussion, City Administrator Mac Manning said he would review such policies in other communities and make a recommendation.
- The council approved an extended utility payment policy in hopes of easing the burden of utility payments for families in a financial crisis. The policy provides an extension of the time allowed to pay a utility bill, allows shut-off if the payment is not made by the extended date, allows for shut off if payment is made with an ‘insufficient funds’ check, and limits the number of extended payment periods to two during a 12-month period. The council approved the proposal, 5-0.
- The council heard the federal government had extended the deadline for installation of a handicap lift for public pools and spas to January 2013. However, Pickens told them the lift for the Peabody pool should be ready to install on June 10.
The council meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 25 in the city building.