MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Maquoketa City Council voted this week to move forward with an ordinance limiting when residents can use fireworks, but it might not take effect this year.
The city currently allows fireworks from July 1 to 7. The new ordinance would limit fireworks usage to July 2 to 4 and require an annual fire inspection for all retail fireworks sites. Currently, retailers are licensed by the state fire marshal but not inspected unless the vendor previously had a license revocation, according to council documents.
The July-1-to-7 window ensured fireworks could be used over the weekend closest to July 4, regardless of the day of the week on which the 4th fell. However, Mayor Don Schwenker told the Telegraph Herald that in 2020, some Maquoketa residents voiced concerns about the level of fireworks activity.
“It seemed like there was quite a bit more, so there was some frustrations, some loud noises perhaps outside the parameters of the time (allowed),” he said.
During this week’s council meeting, Police Chief Brad Koranda expressed his approval of a shorter window for fireworks.
“Personally, I would say shorten it down and keep it that way,” he said. “... I know we’re trying to catch the weekend, but seven days is a long time to have fireworks every night in your neighborhood.”
The council voted, 5-1, to approve the first reading of the ordinance, which must pass three readings before taking effect. It then attempted to proceed with the second and third readings, which would have required a vote of approval by all six council members.
Council Member Kevin Kuhlman voted “no,” so the ordinance will have its second reading at the June 21 meeting. At that time, the council could vote to hold both the second and third readings — which would again require approval from all six members — to make the ordinance take effect before this year’s festivities.
If not, the third reading would be held at the next regular council meeting, which is not scheduled until after July 4.
“We’re running out of time,” Schwenker said. “My personal opinion is that we’re getting to the point and time frame where I don’t think it’s realistic (to change it this year).”