New Year’s fireworks celebrations within Maquoketa city limits may be reduced to seven hours beginning this holiday.
Maquoketa City Council voted 5-1 on the first of three readings that would amend a city ordinance to condense when residents can set off fireworks.
The proposed amendment focused on the most immediate holiday – New Year’s. Council members said they needed additional
time to discuss fireworks timelines for Independence Day.
If the amendment passes, Maquoketa residents could shoot off fireworks from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. Jan. 1.
The current fireworks ordinance, enacted in 2017, allows residents to discharge fireworks from Dec. 10 to Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with a two-hour extension on Jan. 1.
Earlier this year, Maquoketa Fire Chief Matt Tranel said he received numerous complaints about fireworks debris in yards and on rooftops in the days surrounding the Independence Day holiday. The fire department even responded to a call of a tree on fire after fireworks sparks ignited it.
Some city residents complained of the noise and potential trauma to Alzheimer’s victims, post-traumatic stress sufferers, and pets.
New council member Ronald Horan said he opposed the amendment not because of the shortened timeframe but because he wants to redefine when specific fireworks can be used. He said the current ordinance and amendment would restrict all types of fireworks, including sparklers on birthday cakes and other novelties.
Horan said he wants to “control things that go in the air.”
“If I support this, I’m supporting a poorly-written ordinance,” Horan said.
Council must approve the amendment twice more before it takes effect. The city’s plan is to have the amended ordinance in place by Dec. 31.