Hillsboro Council extends fireworks to midnight on 4th of July

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
If you like to shoot off fireworks on the Fourth of July, it’s good news. If you’re bothered by the noise of fireworks late at night, it’s bad news.

The Hillsboro City Council approved a new ordinance at its July 18 meeting that lengthens the time fireworks can be discharged within the city limits on July 4 from 11 p.m. to midnight.

The new ordinance actually combined several former ordinances into one document, but the only change from past practices that was incorporated into Ordinance 1130 was to lengthen the hours on July 4.

Councilor Byron McCarty had suggested the change at an earlier meeting, noting that with Daylight Saving Time, it takes until 9:30 to 10 p.m. before it really gets dark.

The council noted that some users were already discharging fireworks after the 11 p.m. deadline anyway, and that enforcing that deadline would be difficult.

With passage of the new ordinance, fireworks can be discharged in Hillsboro on July 1, 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on July 4 from 10 a.m. to midnight. They may also be discharged from 10 a.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

Fee schedule

The council took a first look at Resolution 2006-13, a compilation of fees the city charges for a variety of its services, ranging from dog licenses to building permits to tire pick-up.

The list sparked early discussion on a couple of items, including the way water-tap fees are charged and the amounts required for “peddler permits” and hangar rental at the airport.

The council will update and approve the fee policies at a later meeting.

CDBG application

The council also agreed to move forward with an application for a Community Development Block Grant that would pay for half of the estimated $380,000 needed to replace the waterline along Birch Street, from D Street to the former railroad crossing to the north, and on Cedar Street, from B street to Grand Avenue.

The project would include 87 residences and two business along the seven-block area, according to Rose Mary Saunders, representing Reiss & Goodness Engineers.

The grant application is due Oct. 2. A public hearing on the project was set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Other business

In other matters, the council:

authorized Mayor Delores Dalke to sign the necessary forms to apply for a $4.552 million loan and a $750,000 grant through Rural Development to fund the construction of a new wastewater lagoon system east of town. The new loan also absorbs a previous RD loan of around $140,000.

The interest rate for the new loan cannot exceed 4.5 percent; the loan is payable over 40 years with no penalty for early payback. The city’s annual installment will be $247,000, which will be generated through user fees.

approved a request by Hillsboro Community Medical Center to be reimbursed for $19,189 that was used to upgrade its fire-alarm system at the behest of the state fire marshal. The funds are dispersed through the city’s Public Building Commission.

received a report that indicated the Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center had generated $28,464 in revenue from its Memorial Day opening through the end of June. Expenses through that same period were identified as exceeding $38,000. A notable, but unspecified, portion of the expense was for the natural gas needed to heat the pool water during the early weeks of operation.

approved an addendum to the city’s lease agreement with American Energies Pipeline LLC to change the company’s payment schedule for the city-owned natural gas line from quarterly to annually.

accepted in principle an engineering contract with MKEC Engineering for street construction connected with Phase I of the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church building project in the Prairie Pointe housing development. Final approval depends on the recommendation of the city attorney, who had not yet reviewed the contract.

approved the mayor’s appointments to the Convention & Visitors Bureau that would complete the following roster of members: Peggy Goertzen, Steve Berg, Frances Walls, Sheryl Lehr, Pat Nuss, Brenda Coryea, June Glasgow, Lola Unruh, Hank Wiebe, Stan Harder.

heard from City Administrator Steve Garrett that his office had received 12 applications to succeed Matt Dalke as recreation director. Garrett said all 12 applicants were worthy of consideration.

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