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O’Fallon reconsidering fireworks ban

The O’Fallon City Council is reconsidering its current ordinance prohibiting the use of fireworks by individual residents.

At the July 11 City Council Workshop, council member Dr. Jim Ottomeyer [Ward 4] suggested revisiting the ban, to perhaps allow fireworks on specified days and between specified times.  He said an example would be allowing fireworks on July 3, 4 and 5, between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., similar to what some other nearby cities allow; then, strongly enforcing the ban after 11 p.m.

Ottomeyer pointed out that fireworks could be a source of revenue for the city because under the current rules only St. Charles County gets any tax revenue from fireworks stands. If O’Fallon were to change the rules and allow fireworks, the city could reap that sales tax revenue, he said.

Council member Jeff Kuehn [Ward 4] agreed that it is time to revisit the ban. Kuehn added that the idea had come up in 2017, but the council had not approved any changes. He explained that city staff had created an excellent document at that time that included several ideas and options. Kuehn suggested dusting off that document and using it as a base for current discussion.

Council member Dave Hinman [Ward 1] said other cities such as Lake Saint Louis already were revisiting their bans, but they are doing so with a “two-year test” to see how well it works and to obtain feedback from their residents. Then, they can change their ordinances in whatever way makes the most sense.

Council member Dale Kling [Ward 3] said the test would be a good idea. He described the importance of considering “time, place and manner” for when, where and how fireworks can be used safely and include those in guidelines for fireworks use.

Mayor Bill Hennessy polled the council members and there were no objections to pursuing the change. He then directed City Administrator Mike Snowden to have city staff bring options and recommendations to the council in the near future.

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