A Waldoboro resident who has been circulating a petition to ban consumer fireworks in the town met with the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Ray Perkins, of Waldoboro, aims to place the matter before voters at the annual town meeting by referendum in June. The petition requires 222 signatures to make the ballot, according to board Chair Robert Butler.
The town’s current ordinance passed by 128 votes several years ago, according to Butler, but he said it might be worthwhile to revisit the issue.
“We have had several years of experience and people may feel differently,” Butler said.
According to Selectman Jann Minzy, the town’s ordinance prohibits fireworks after 10 p.m. on most days of the year.
The ordinance allows fireworks until 12:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and New Year’s Eve, according to Butler.
Town Manager Julie Keizer said residents should contact the Waldoboro Police Department about violations of the current ordinance.
“I believe it is an enforcement issue, not an ordinance issue,” Keizer said.
“You need to call the police. You need to call the town office. There are certain things you need to do. We have no way to enforce it if we don’t know,” Keizer said.
Perkins expressed dissatisfaction with the response to previous complaints and said fireworks are being set off at “all hours of the night.”
Keizer said she would discuss the matter with the police department the next day.
She said she believes the fireworks ordinance will be a controversial issue in town, comparing it to a recent discussion on the possible purchase of a ladder truck for the Waldoboro Fire Department.
Perkins said he has temporarily stopped gathering signatures after receiving advice from Butler to work on the petition’s wording.
“I don’t think people understand the strength has been increased,” Perkins said of modern fireworks.
Butler suggested that the town could make the curfew 10 p.m. regardless of the date.
Perkins said he would want the curfew to be 9:30 p.m.
Keizer said she does not believe such proposals would pass, as even the fireworks at Waldoboro Day don’t start until 9:15.
“I don’t want anybody here to get the idea this will be easy. People like their fireworks … I just want you to be aware this is a hot-button issue,” Keizer said.
Regarding the size of fireworks, Selectman Abden Simmons said they are regulated by state law.
John Lawrence, a resident, said he raises horses and has noticed an escalation in noise from fireworks.