The majority of Boyne City Commissioners cited safety and tranquility as their reasoning for implementing a new, more stringent fireworks ordinance on Tuesday April 23.
The fireworks ordinance’s new language is more restrictive than the freer state law that was passed just last year to allow Michigan
citizens the right to use more types of fireworks, and to have the option use them more often.
“My view hasn’t really changed on this from day one: we have to live with it for 10 holidays; the day of, the day before, and the day
after,” said Boyne City Commissioner Delbert Gene Towne. “I have been approached by some citizens that would like to see an ordinance passed to regulate fireworks.”
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord said he also remained steadfast in his opposition to any additional regulation beyond the state’s new law.
“I see this as a human nature thing. When we try to make a point we tend to go to extreme scenarios for or against something,” Gaylord said. “Generally they’re not based in actual data.”
He added, “I think some certain comments were approaching what some may describe as a ‘Nanny State’ where we assume the role of the parents—and I’m opposed to that.”
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom expressed concern at the state’s lack of regulation as to whether children could use fireworks. She asked how a 4-year-old was prohibited from purchasing fireworks but could detonate a firework.
Boyne City Police Officer Kevin Spate said some parents do allow their children to do such things.
“Without regulating … and going against what the state has mandated, can we say that we as a city recommend that anyone under 18 years of age should be accompanied by a parent?” Sansom said.
Sansom also asked if the city could put language in the ordinance telling parents not to give matches to their children.
Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch said he has had several citizens contact him and request the city take control of fireworks.
“I support the process to approve this amendment,” Grunch said.
Gaylord asked Spate how many children aged 4 or 5 were injured in 2012. Spate said there were none of which he knew.
Gaylord said parents are allowed to be responsible for their own children. “As a body, I think we have to be very careful with how we articulate those viewpoints,” he said. “Whether it’s a 4-year-old or a 10-year-old, the parent is still responsible. And, to equate that with drinking under age is a bit of a stretch as well.”
Grunch said the police need a way to deal with “some of the ridiculous stuff” that occurred in his neighborhood and Sansom’s neighborhood with fireworks last year.
“I just want to reiterate my dismay at this whole thing (the state’s new law),” said Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann, who said he was speaking as a private citizen. “This is clearly poorly-conceived legislation.”
Baumann said he was displeased with the additional days the new state law would have allowed citizens to use fireworks.
“This was rushed through. It’s not a real economic benefit,” he said. “There’s a lot of cities in this state that are unhappy that the state forced this on.”
The ordinance was unanimously approved.
Fireworks cannot be used between midnight and 7 a.m. The new ordinance requires anyone seeking to use display fireworks to
ask the city commission for permission to obtain a permit. Fireworks are now allowed to be used only on the day of, the day
before and the day after the following selected holidays:
Police can determine if a person has violated the new ordinance. The fireworks can be confiscated and a fine may be imposed.
Financial penalties for violating the new law are $50 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for the third.