City fireworks plan in place

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The Socorro City Council kicked off the summer season with a fireworks proclamation and an announcement that the city pool opens Sunday during its regular meeting Monday.

Lloyd Martinez, water superintendent and director of the city parks department, announced during his department report the city pool opens for the summer this Sunday. He added the pool courtyard features a new shade canopy for the comfort of patrons.

The council’s first order of business, however, was a fireworks proclamation, which prohibits some types of fireworks and limits the use of certain others to barren areas with water handy.

Mayor Ravi Bhasker noted the state gave local governments some leeway in restricting fireworks. The city’s proclamation, which is effective for 30 days beginning June 6, states the city is enacting the provisions due to present extreme drought conditions. The city can issue another proclamation lifting the restrictions if enough rain comes to dampen fire dangers.

Following discussion with a local fireworks vendor during the meeting, the proclamation was amended. The vendor objected to the city prohibiting firecrackers, which he said accounted for about 85 percent of his sales from June 20 to 29. Once amended, the proclamation was approved by the council unanimously except for Councilors Gordon Hicks and Toby Jaramillo, who were absent from the meeting.

The proclamation prohibits the sale or use of missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners and stick-type rockets, as well as ground audible devices like chasers, within city limits.

Firecrackers are allowed; their use is just limited to paved or barren areas with easy access to water. The same goes for cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, and illuminating torches and wheels.

A section of the proclamation added after the council heard from the fireworks vendor “discourages” the use and sale of jumping jacks.

Violating the proclamation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a year’s incarceration or both.

In other business, the Socorro City Council:

  • Held a public hearing for amendments to the city’s Police Oversight Commission ordinance and approved its second reading. Nobody outside city government offered comments on the amendments. City clerk Pat Salome explained the amendments streamline the POC appeals process without taking away the opportunity for a complainant to file an appeal.
  • Approved write-offs for 2007 ambulance accounts totaling $205,237.35. Mable Gonzales, city finance director, said the write-off is 33 percent of the amount billed in 2007.
  • Approved financing through the New Mexico Finance Authority for a water line replacement project. Gonzales said the project will replace 20,000 feet of asbestos and steel water line in the Evergreen area and by New Mexico Tech. Martinez added the line by New Mexico Tech will be finished for certain, and the remainder of the money will go to replace as much of the Evergreen line as possible. Gonzales said the total project is $969,600; half of the amount is a 12-year drinking water revolving loan with 0 percent interest, and the other half is a loan subsidy that the city does not repay.
  • Approved a budget increase to allow for a $50,000 tourism grant. Gonzales said the increase also cleans up line items.
  • Set a preliminary budget meeting for May 29 at noon.

 

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