County considers firework sales ban
Published: Wednesday, March 8th, 2006
Arid conditions in New Mexico may sour Independence Day celebrations in Clovis and Curry County. A ban on the sale of fireworks in the city and the county is being considered by commissioners. Though there is currently an outdoor burn ban in place in Clovis and Curry County, which outlaws the use of fireworks, the sales ban is needed to enforce it, officials said. During a Tuesday County Commission meeting, County Manager Dick Smith said the sales ban would be a collaborative effort between the city and the county. The ban should also be extended to neighboring Texas cities and counties, officials said during the meeting. If drought conditions continue to swell the chances of grassfires in the region, City Manager Joe Thomas said he may pitch the ban to nearby cities and counties in Texas. “The bigger the circle we make around our area, the fewer (grassfire) incidents we will have,” Thomas said. “The ban won’t be effective if people can just drive to Farwell and buy fireworks. ... I don’t want to rain on an American tradition, but this is the situation we face.” Around the Fourth of July, about half of the fires fought by the Clovis fire department are grass or woodland fires, Thomas said. “That indicates fireworks are a problem,” he said. The sales ban, however, would not be permanent, Thomas said, and could only be enacted if weather conditions make it necessary. In accordance with current laws, the ban would need to be reviewed every 30 days. Evidence of drought-like conditions would need to be re-established in order for the ban to be renewed. Request for permits to sell fireworks are filed in the months before the Fourth of July and are valid for about a year. The permits cannot be issued until May 1, according to county statutes. Vendors typically line roadsides selling sparklers and other flammable wares. Also at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting: • The ceiling of the North Annex, a recently constructed facility for inmates, will be raised by 4 feet. Commissioners approved the annex renovation project, which will cost an estimated $28,000 and will be funded by state taxpayer dollars. The wire mesh ceiling is not sufficient, county officials said, and can be easily vandalized by inmates. • Commissioners pledged support for the Clovis Main Street Program, although the county cannot monetarily support the project in this fiscal year because its budget is set. The program seeks to revitalize the Clovis downtown area. Representatives of the program said their main priority this year is construction of an entrance area to downtown shops. They have also set aside private funds to aid downtown shop owners install second-story windows. • County officials were granted approval to apply for two grants. One would provide funds for senior-citizen volunteer programs, and another would provide funds for law enforcement operations, such as the purchase of equipment and uniforms. • The county is to create an Information Technology Position. The county currently spends about $20,000 annually for outside technical assistance, Smith said. He said the county will save money by adding the position.
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