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City approves fireworks request

Staff writer

In a vote to show support for the Hillsboro Senior Center, Hillsboro City Council members voted to allow a fireworks display to be part of an April 28 planned pulled pork fundraiser.

“We need an additional $2,000 per month, over our $2,700 budget just to make ends meet,” Hillsboro Golden Years Club Chairman Charles Rempel said. “I just combined two of my ideas to help draw in more people to attend our fundraiser by adding a fireworks preview display.”

Rempel, owner of Charlie’s Fireworks, said one of his passions in life was fireworks and he would have a pre-order display somewhere, if not in the city, then nearby in the country. By combining his display with the pulled pork fundraiser, there would be a greater potential to bring more money into Hillsboro, and more funds for the senior center.

Discussion centered on safety issues brought to the table by Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee.

“We would have to have a fire truck on standby for safety,” Steketee said. “We are just exposing ourselves to danger, and setting a precedent for other organizations to choose additional days that they too, would like to have fireworks displays in city limits.”

City policy regulates the discharge of fireworks to two occasions, Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, City Administrator Larry Paine said. The council must approve any other fireworks display requests pertaining to citywide celebrations and community events outside of those two holidays.

Mayor Delores Dalke said she would feel better about the proposal if a percentage of fireworks sales were going to the senior center, in addition to just hoping to get more people to come and pay for a meal there.

“We have allowed fireworks for special occasions before,” Dalke said. “But never for somebody to make money.”

Rempel said there was a potential for him to make money off pre-sales of fireworks, but he was not proposing the idea as a money making venture for himself. He just thought it was a good way to draw more people into town for the fundraising meal at the senior center.

“My approach is to pull people into visiting the senior center,” he said. “This is not just a place where old people go to eat. All ages of people will come out to buy a meal and enjoy the free fireworks. I see this as an economic advantage for the city of Hillsboro, what I am doing is good for this town. I am doing this to benefit the senior center.”

Byron McCarty said he supported the plan, as long as inclement weather restrictions still applied, and a pre-shoot list of fireworks was shared with Steketee.

“I look at this as helping the senior center,” he said. “We can’t give them money, but if this helps them draw more people in, then we have been able to help in other ways.”

Council member Shelby Dirks voted against the request, after a motion, second, and two ‘yes’ votes by Bob Watson and McCarty. Council member Marlene Fast said she hated to go against the recommendation of Steketee, but voted in favor of the measure after a time of agonizing consideration.

Council members found it easier to approve billing payments for street construction projects to EBH Engineering and Vogt’s-Parga.

“You really need to go take a look at A Street,” Paine said. “It’s a lot nicer and smoother than it used to be.

Watson said he was impressed with how quickly both crews were getting work in town done.

The council approved pay estimates of $5,346 to EBH Engineering, and $59,320 to Vogt’s-Parga.

The council also approved an additional payment of $198,577 to Reynolds Inliner, LLC.

“This is interesting in that we have already paid pay estimates 1, 2, and 4,” Paine said. “Somehow the engineer did not process the third estimate from the contractor. We have confirmed that payment was skipped.”

In other business:

  • Council members discussed storm activity in Hillsboro on Feb. 28 and evaluated the validity of reasons why tornado sirens were not sounded. Paine said only one of three severe storm criteria points were met that day. At least two are required in order for the city fire captain to sound the warning. Those criteria are 1) conditions favorable for tornadic activity, 2) National Weather Service radar indicates a tornado in the area, and 3) weather watchers confirm or spot a tornado in the neighborhood.
  • Council members voted to approve resolution 2012-02 to exempt the city from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and use instead statutory cash basis rules for municipality records.

Last modified March 8, 2012

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