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Muskego won't ban fireworks

They will review how displays work under new fireworks rules

Jan. 14, 2013

Muskego - The suggestion to hold a referendum on banning private fireworks displays was put on hold so that Muskego's new fireworks ordinance can be given a try.

Muskego is the only community in the metropolitan area that allows private residents to put on fireworks displays, if they get city permits.

The Common Council meeting as a Committee of the Whole last week decided it was premature to hold a referendum, favoring instead to see how well the new fireworks ordinance works. The new rules were to get their first tryout last Fourth of July, but due to last summer's drought the city had a burn ban that nixed fireworks. The Public Safety Committee suggested the referendum.

"We have a real good rewrite of the ordinance," Alderman Neil Borgman said.

Alderman Daniel Soltysiak said he would rather see stepped-up enforcement against people being bad neighbors before talking about a referendum. The city already has ordinances against excessive noise, littering and vandalism and he would like those enforced more, he said.

The new ordinance also gives people the chance to complain about fireworks displays to the city. The Finance Committee will review the complaint with both parties and then decide whether the complaint is valid and serious enough to deny a fireworks permit the following year.

That process was followed once so far, Soltysiak said. The parties might not have gone away happy, but there was a dialogue, he said.

The Committee of the Whole supported tightening up the window to complain about fireworks displays. The old deadline was July 31. The new one will be July 8. The last day displays are allowed is July 7.

Agreeing with Soltysiak that most of the problems come from people who don't get permits, Alderman Kert Harenda said that banning legal displays is unfair because it punishes people who do the right thing. So, he didn't support a referendum on banning fireworks.

Police have noted no major incidents because of fireworks. Years ago, a barn was set on fire, but firefighters arrived quickly and put it out.

Alderman Rob Glazier acknowledged that fireworks are dangerous. He found burn holes in a boat covering at his house due to fireworks, he said. But shooting off fireworks is a big quality of life issue for many people, he said.

"I'd like to put the whole debate to rest," he said.

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