Dickinson Supervisors Hear Funding Request; Discuss Concerns Over Fireworks Permits

Tue 11-22-2016 []

(Spirit Lake)-- The Dickinson county board of supervisors this (Tues.) morning heard the annual report and funding request from Elderbridge, or the local Agency on Aging. Co-Executive Director Shelly Sindt reported the agency is requesting $2.85 for each person that's over 60 years of age in Dickinson county, or a total of $14,281 for funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The supervisors took no action on the request, saying they'll take it under consideration during upcoming budget talks.

The whole issue over fireworks permits once again came up as they considered an application filed by fellow supervisor Marty Allen, who wasn't present at today's (Tues.) meeting. Fellow supervisors did wind up approving Allen's permit, but one of them, Paul Johnson, once again said he wants applications revised to reflect what time the fireworks are to be shot off. Assistant County Attorney Lonnie Saunders expressed concern on the matter, saying the times would be difficult to enforce...Fireworks Permit Concerns01 

"The problem is the people that are shooting them off at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, they're not coming in for a permit. People who we permit, you could put a time thing in there so that not after 11:00 p.m. and they're responsible people because they got a permit, they won't do it. But the people who go to Sioux Falls and buy a trunk load of fireworks and then go home and get their beer on, they're going to shoot them off whenever they feel like shooting them off. Then it's up to the city or the county Sheriff or Police Departments to enforce their local laws about nuisance and noise. It really has nothing to do with the permit. Now it may be a violation that they didn't get a permit, that's a different question. But how do we control the time of somebody shooting off fireworks if they don't come in to get a permit from us in the first place?"

Saunders added that enforcement of fireworks, which are illegal in the state of Iowa without a permit, are nearly 100 percent driven by complaint...Fireworks Permits Concerns02 

"Certainly since I've been County Attorney we haven't been asked to prosecute anybody for that. Typically what the police will do when they catch somebody is they'll go and talk to them. They may confiscate their fireworks, though I don't think they do that anymore, and tell them to knock it off and if they have to come back again they'll write them a ticket. I think that's how they handle it."

The issue has been ongoing since an incident this summer that resulted in authorities getting a lot of complaints. Saunders says he's still working with municipalities in working on some permit revisions to address some of the concerns.

The supervisors also heard from buildings and grounds director Clark Reekers regarding repairs needed to a valve on a lift station at the county-owned “PRIDE” Group facility, or the former county home, and on the replacement of a main panel for the courthouse fire alarm system, which is currently not operational. Reekers told the supervisors the cost to replace the valve on the lift station shouldn't exceed $10,000, while it will cost nearly $6,000 to get the courthouse fire alarm system back up and operational. He said they're working to get the repairs made as soon as possible.