Finney County Commissioners discuss current county fireworks regulations

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Fireworks fill the sky during a past City Fourth of July fireworks show at the Finney County Fairgrounds and Arkansas River bed.

Finney County Commissioners discussed current fireworks regulations to assess their effectiveness at Monday's regular Commission meeting. No changes were made. 

Fireworks regulations were amended at the April 5 Commission meeting, changing the allowed fireworks discharge dates to July 1-5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The prior regulations allowed discharge from June 27 through June 5 from 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Commissioner Lon Pishny said the only reason the regulations are being discussed now is because it's easier to talk about them closer at this time rather than later, the further away from when the holiday took place as it's harder to remember.

"The point of bringing it up now is whether we take official action or whether it's a consensus ... I think we need to have a brief discussion about did it work this past year, the couple of changes that we made?" he said. "I would rather do something with this now rather than in the spring or right before the Fourth of July, like we did this past season, is the reason I asked for it to be on the agenda this fall."

Commissioner William Clifford said he was fine with how everything went this past July 4. 

"I have a stomach for July 1-5, my wife would prefer July 4, so I hear about it, but I realize folks are going to light things off as soon as they buy them," he said.

Holcomb resident Bonnie Bribiesca said she believed the fireworks discharge going until 11 p.m. is too late.

"Personally, I love fireworks," she said. "I always said for my 40th birthday, which was a long time ago, even my 50th was a while ago, but anyway I was going to have a big fireworks show, because I absolutely adore and love fireworks, but 11 p.m. is too late."

Bribiesca also talked about how the loud noises of the fireworks being set off is bad for dog owners, like herself. After trying some homeopathic ways to try and calm her dog down, eventually she had to go to the vet to get tranquilizers. 

Pishny said he has empathy for the lateness of the discharge, but realizes the complaint on the other side, if the discharge ended earlier, is that it doesn't get dark enough to appreciate the fireworks until after 9:30 p.m.

Commissioner Duane Drees agrees. 

"As a farmer, really, realistically, it's probably closer to 10 p.m. before it's dark and you can really enjoy these aerial displays," he said. "Previously I believe it was 10:30, which doesn't give you much time to enjoy what everybody really wants, which is those aerial things. I can also appreciate the dog – I even have a deaf dog that goes fritzy on this kind of stuff ...  I think it's a compromise on all sides put together and I fell very good about what we did last year and I have no desire to change it."

Jon Irsik of the Garden City Fire Department said he believes the 11 p.m. end time worked out well this year.

"This year we were at about half the calls we were the year before, didn't see too many issues," he said. "I thought the 11 p.m. worked great, they pretty much shut themselves down by then – either out of fireworks or out of time. Not too big of an issue for us."