FD council moves on tighter local fireworks regulations

Tighter restrictions on the use of fireworks in Fort Dodge received the initial approval of the City Council Monday.

The new rules would greatly reduce the period in which fireworks can be legally used.

They were drafted after city officials were deluged with complaints about fireworks last summer, which was the first time in decades that most fireworks were legal in Iowa. The Police Department received 491 fireworks complaints between June 1 and July 8.

“This was not an easy topic,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said. “There was a lot of public input given to all of us at the table.”

The period between June 1 and July 8 is now the legal time frame for using fireworks in the summer.

The new time frame in the proposed city rules is July 1-4.

Fireworks would be allowed from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on those days.

The winter time frame for fireworks is now Dec. 10 to Jan. 3.

The plan before the council reduces that time frame to 5 p.m. Dec. 31 to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 1.

Violators of city fireworks rules would face a $500 fine upon being convicted of their first offense. Currently that fine is $250.

The new rules do not hold landlords responsible for illegal fireworks use by their tenants.

Also, the proposal does not ban any specific types of fireworks.

Although previous discussions about fireworks regulations produced a packed council chambers with many people heading to the podium to express their concerns, no one addressed the council Monday night.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of the rules Monday.

They must be approved by the council two more times to become law.