While the Gering City Council didn’t make permanent an ordinance allowing for New Year’s Eve fireworks, they did agree to extend the ordinance another year.
The ordinance was drafted in 2010 on a trial basis, allowing for the sale of fireworks on Dec. 29 – 31 and the discharge of fireworks from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. the night of Dec. 31.
The ordinance was passed with a provision for the council to revisit its provisions before the end of October 2011 to determine whether it should be made permanent.
Local fireworks vendor Eric Wilcox spoke to the council about extending the ordinance. He said they didn’t have a lot of data on whether there were any problems with enforcing the ordinance. Dec. 31, 2010 brought blizzard-like conditions to the area along with extreme cold, which prevented many people from discharging fireworks at all.
“Most people would come into the store and buy maybe three items,” Wilcox said. “They just weren’t going outside with it being as cold as it was.”
Council member Julie Morrison is also a member of the city’s Public Safety Committee that discussed the original ordinance. She said their main concerns included people’s safety and the need to clean up fireworks debris.
“Because of the weather conditions, I think this really didn’t get a fair test,” said council member Larry Gibbs. “I’d recommend we extend this for one more year and see how it goes if the weather cooperates. We can consider making it permanent next year.”
Gibbs said one of his concerns was that if people don’t pick up after themselves, the city can’t send out a street sweeper to do it in winter.
The one-year extension was unanimously approved by council members.