Concerned about an explosion of opposition, city councilors may be afraid to light the fuse on a proposed ban on selling fireworks in town.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro said it "makes no sense whatsoever" to ban fireworks allowed by state law from being sold within Bristol’s borders.
He said he doesn’t see the rationale for taking sparklers away from children when the same fireworks can be purchased legally in every neighboring town and used in Bristol.
The council declined recently to approve the proposed restriction on selling fireworks that former Mayor William Stortz touted. He argued that the police and fire departments shouldn’t have to squander so much time and attention on fireworks every summer.
Councilor Mike Rimcoski said that the proposed ordinance, which was sent back to committee for more research, would basically stop the sale of fireworks.
"We’re shutting down an enterprise" if the council backs the proposed law, Rimcoski said.
He said the city’s public safety personnel have "to try and control" the improper use of fireworks, but preventing their sale won’t help.
Nicastro called the proposed "a little disturbing" because it would cut into traditional fun by youngsters.
The Ordinance Committee that considered Stortz’s request couldn’t make up its mind on the issue, sending the proposed law to the council without making a recommendation one way or another about whether to enact the statute.
Councilor Craig Minor, the new chairman of the panel, said he was troubled by the lack of direction from the panel. He said it should be sent back to the committee for more consideration.
Councilor Kevin McCauley said there is too much abuse of fireworks, but he also agreed that it was best to let the committee look into the issue more deeply.
Stortz raised the idea last summer, after public-safety officials devoted considerable time to checking on the safety of fireworks dealers in Bristol, most of which are temporary businesses. They found a couple of people selling illegal fireworks.
Stortz argued the calls to check on fireworks required the police and fire departments to allocate scarce resources without providing a benefit to the city.
"Sales within the city are not anything where the city benefits economically," Stortz said at the time. "No taxes are levied, and the permit fee for standalone booths is minimal. Restricting sales would reduce the use of fireworks and lead to fewer problems, he said.
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