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Council defers fireworks to public meeting
Jan 16, 2013 3:50 pm
After debate and controversy, the Lebanon City council again delayed action on a proposal to amend the city municipal code to permit the sale and use of fireworks within the city limits.
Kathy Warmath introduced the measure last year, but the final reading was delayed until the resolution could be reviewed by fire officials to make sure it was in line with safety regulations.
She has long maintained the law outlawing fireworks in the city was only keeping people in the city from profiting from the sale of them, not deterring people from buying them just outside the city limits and using them in the city.
Ward 2 Councilor Fred Burton put the brakes on the idea again Monday.
"I was on the council when we banned fireworks," he said. "I've gotten a lot more con calls than pro calls from people in my ward."
Burton said fireworks lead to more calls to police and a lot of people think they are dangerous. He then moved to have a public hearing before the next council meeting to allow the public to have some input on the proposal.
"Everybody's shooting them around us," Warmath said.
The council then voted to defer the measure in favor of a public hearing.
"That will be fine with me," Warmath said. "I won't bring it up again. The ball's in your court guys."
After the meeting, Warmath said she was amazed the council deferred the idea again.
"I don't know where Fred came from with that," she said. "We didn't have a hearing when we ripped them away."
She said she spoke to "everybody" in and out of city government, and only one person had expressed concern.
"If the police don't know how to police some sparklers I don't know what they can do," Warmath said, adding she is confident the measure will pass after the public hearing. "It's still on target, even if 30 of Fred's folks show up to speak against it, they don't represent the other 25,000 in the city."
The only other item to stir debate was a motion to rezone property at 512 North Cumberland St. to allow the construction of a residential complex. While Mayor Philip Craighead was clearly in favor of the project, Ward 1 Councilor Lanny Jewell, who represents the area where the proposed project would be built, did not. Jewell cited traffic concerns as a reason to deny the rezoning request. His argument won the day with the council, voting 5-1 to deny the request.
The council also approved:
• a line-item fund transfer for the gas department to cover the cost of the postage for public awareness brochures.
• a line-item fund transfer for the police department to finish buying police equipment for new vehicles.
• the transfer of ownership of the retired police canine, Cheyenne, to its handler, Kevin Ragland.
On first reading, the council approved:
• a certificate of compliance for retail package store Southern Spirits Discount Liquor at 1150 Sparta Pike, Suites B and C, for applicant George Bashour.
• the Lebanon Police Department to hire an officer to replace one who resigned last month to take a job outside law enforcement, a secretary for the department to replace one who left the department, to hire a detective for one who was reassigned, to hire another officer who left to take a job with Metro Nashville police and bids for six police cars.
• bids for one street sweeper for the street department.
• bids for seven sets of turnout gear for the Lebanon Fire Department.