Council, Ford shoot down firework sales

Saline County residents already are under a burn ban issued Friday by Saline County Judge Lanny Fite, but additional restrictions have been imposed on Benton residents by Fire Chief Bill Ford.
On Monday, Ford issued a ban on the sale and use of fireworks in the city until the countywide burn ban has been lifted.
Fite's ban, which includes Benton and all of Saline County, will be enforced until lifted by Fite.
In issuing the latest restrictions, Ford noted that the city's Ordinance 33 of 2011 states: "Fireworks Usage/Ban โ€” When, in the opinion of the Fire Chief, drought or other conditions exist which when coupled with the discharge of fireworks, would pose a hazard to persons or property, the Fire Chief shall issue a ban on the sale and discharge of all fireworks until such time as the condition causing the ban ceases."
Ford noted that "if and when the ban is lifted, the use of fireworks in the city of Benton will be limited to those times and dates listed in Ordinance 33 of 2011."
He pointed out that the ban will not affect the Fourth of July public fireworks display at the Benton Freedom Fest.
Additional information about fireworks restrictions is available by contacting Benton Fire Marshal Bruce Armstrong at 776-5962.
In a Benton City Council meeting Monday night, the aldermen agreed to refund fireworks vendors' $500 permit fee if they are not allowed to sell fireworks by July 5.
Ordinance 33 of 2011 overturned a 2004 ordinance that prohibited the sale and use of fireworks in the city at all times except for the city's public display and other exhibits approved by the City Council.
During normal circumstances โ€” meaning when no ban is in place โ€” the newer ordinance permitted the sale of fireworks from June 25 to July 5.
Individual usage had been permitted between July 3 and July 5, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The ordinance also outlined specific regulations regarding the use of fireworks by individuals under the age of 18.