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Local

County reestablishes fireworks permits

Supervisors to review applications at special Thursday meeting

Jasper County is accepting applications for fireworks permits again, a policy that was once in place a few years ago before a previous board of supervisors roster decided against it and only allowed citizens living in the county to discharge fireworks during the state-assigned time periods.

According to state law, fireworks can only be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. June 1 through July 8 and Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 of each year. These laws, however, are often limited by individual city governments, which can enact time and date restrictions on fireworks usage or prohibit them altogether. Sale of fireworks, however, cannot be banned.

Denny Carpenter, chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, amended the agenda during the Tuesday morning meeting to authorize the use of fireworks outside of state-regulated dates so long as citizens or organizations have a supervisors-approved permit. These permits will only be issued to county residents who live outside city limits.

Permits would most likely be issued to citizens organizing special events for the community or for their relatives, Doug Cupples, vice chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, said.

“Like if somebody is having a family thing,” he added. “Let’s say they’re having a party at their house and wanted to light off fireworks, they’d come to us to get a permit and then we can inform the sheriff’s office of the permit.”

The Jasper County Board of Supervisors later voted to hold a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to review fireworks permit applications, including one by a group wanting to possibly use display fireworks this weekend. Applications are reviewed and approved individually.

Years ago, fireworks use in Iowa was prohibited unless citizens acquired permits from a city or county allowing them to shoot pyrotechnics on their own property for a specific occasion.

Eventually, the board of supervisors at that time agreed that it would not approve any more fireworks permits, Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott told the Newton Daily News.

“They did that for a couple of years and now this board has decided they’re willing to go back and take applications again,” he said. “They still recognize the state’s authority or the state’s time periods … They’ll still honor those and you don’t have to have a permit to shoot them off then.”

However, burn bans imposed by the state fire marshal could affect permits or exclude certain dates.

But outside that time period, Parrott added, if a citizen wanted to discharge fireworks during a family celebration or other event, he or she “could now come to the board and make an application to shoot fireworks” on their own rural-area property during August or September or any other specified date.

This is well within the rights of individual city councils or county boards of supervisors, which, according to Iowa Code, “may, upon application in writing, grant a permit for the display of display fireworks by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks and other organizations or groups of individuals” approved by the respected governing body.

Permits of this kind are not needed at the Iowa State Fairgrounds by the Iowa State Fair Board or at incorporated county fairs or district fairs receiving state aid.

State law also says display fireworks must be handled “by a competent operator.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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