Fireworks takes spotlight at council meeting

The hot topic of discussion at the Tuesday night city council meeting was the second reading of a new fireworks ordinance.

During the public comment segment before the public hearing on the reading of Ordinance-408. Ginny Winters spoke.

Winters asked, since people have to work the next morning, could the city look at another place to shoot off fireworks or reduce the hours they can be shot off.

In a related matter to shooting off fireworks at the ball fields, PWD Rich Anderson commented that another urinal at the ball field was blown up with fireworks over the holiday. Tossing fireworks into a urinal at the ball field is almost becoming a yearly occurrence.

Winters also felt the dates allowed, “are overkill.”

After the public hearing, the ordinance was read and public comment was called for. There being none, a motion to approve the reading of Ord.-408 was made by Daniel Jones and a second was given by Drew Lesnik. The motion passed on a 3-1 vote with Karla Breding, Jones and Lesnik voting in favor and Ron Widhalm casting a no vote.

In part, the new ordinance says that the use of fireworks within the city is prohibited except for the period of July 1 through July 5 each year. Fireworks can be set off within the city limits from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except July 4 when the time limit is extended to 1 a.m. the following morning. Also, fireworks may be shot off for the period of  Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following morning.

Any person violating the provisions regarding the use of fireworks shall be fined $50.

The new ordinance becomes effective 30 days from its final passage and approval at the next regular meeting of the city council on July 22.

The full ordinance is available for inspection at city hall during regular business hours. The I-O also has a copy.

In other council business, Pondera County Insurance has submitted a request to hold a Kid’s Triathlon on Aug. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Conrad Lions Swimming Pool Park.

Proceeds raised from the event will be donated to the No Kids Hungary program which is a summer meal program at Meadowlark School.

They would like to have the use of the swimming pool donated. They would utilize the streets around the pool and park for the run and biking portions and are requesting coordination of the CPD and PWD for traffic controls and safety barriers.

The insurance company will provide all required insurance coverage.

The charge for private pool parties is $75; however, that does not cover all the expenses.

On a motion by Jones and a second by Widhalm, the Kid’s Triathlon event was approved and passed on a 4-0 vote

On a 4-0, the council approved R-14 which is a loan authorization from the general fund to the Industrial Park fund in the amount of $23,750.49.

Resolution-15, an intent to exclude property of Joe and Lourdes Russell was tabled until more information from the Department of Revenue can be obtained.

The tricky area of pay wage increases drew a lot of discussion among the council members.

Suggestions ranged from giving $1.00 per hour across the board raises and revisiting the pay scale next year to 10 percent - $1.50 raises across the board for PWD and token raises to staff and police of $.25 to $.50 per hour.

Mayor Wendy Judisch argued the fact of why the city did a pay matrix and does not feel, “We should just throw it out the window.” Councilman Lesnik feels the pay matrix doesn’t work.

Other views were to look at surrounding cities such as Shelby and Cut Bank. Councilman Widhalm felt there would be problems giving different departments different increases.

In the end, Alderman Widhalm made a motion to table the pay increases until the July 22 meeting. Lesnik gave a second and the motion passed on a 4-0 vote.

 

The Aug. 5 meeting, due to National Night Out being held at the same time, will start an hour later at 7 p.m.