The legality of "safe and sane" fireworks, approved by a close vote last spring, may be challenged again at the Lompoc City Council meeting Oct. 15.

The Lompoc Fire Department and the Lompoc Police Department filed a report to the council requesting that if the sale of safe and sane fireworks cannot be reconsidered, then the Council should discuss amending the municipal code regulating several aspects of their sale and permit distributions.

The City Council legalized the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks in a 3-2 vote May 7. Eighteen people spoke on the topic that day, and most opposed legalizing the fireworks.

The city allows permits for sales to be issued to six local nonprofit organizations, and a total of 37 applied for the permits last year in a lottery, said Fire Chief Kurt Latipow. The fire department recommended that two of the six permits go to the Lompoc Unified School District Community Education Foundation so that the schools can continue receiving funding through the organization.

The staff also recommended that a 5-percent surcharge on sales of the fireworks be collected, Latipow said. The nonprofit groups that sold fireworks recorded a total net profit of about $59,000, and the fireworks wholesaler TNT recorded a profit of about $60,000.

“I am fully expecting the fireworks wholesalers to disagree with the recommendations,” Latipow said. “And that's OK.”

The staff report included statistics of the police and fire departments' activities during the July 4 holiday. Latipow said the use of illegal fireworks increased and officers were unable to cite many people who used them. Compared to the 2012 holiday, the Lompoc Police Department's dispatch center received a 400 percent increase in calls related to fireworks.

“We were so busy that we stopped to get ready to write a citation, and within less than half a block, three or four other discharges would be going off,” Latipow said. “As someone told me, it was 'out of control.'”

The profit from the first year of the safe and sane fireworks also hurt the community fireworks show, according to the report. The show cost about $30,000 to put on, but only received $17,000 in revenue. Attendance was down by about 33 percent and the city's goals for the show were not met, said Councilman Bob Lingl.

Lingl, who voted against legalizing the fireworks in the spring, also pointed out that the expenses during the holiday exceeded what the city expected and both the fire and police department workers had to be paid overtime that day.

“We did not adequately reimburse the city for the amount of time put in,” Lingl said.

He said the City Council may or may not vote on the continued legality of safe and sane fireworks.

“There were both legal and illegal fireworks going off all over our community,” Lingl said. “I know many people have indicated it was like driving through a war zone.”

Other items on the council’s agenda include:

• The creation of a Lompoc Tourism Improvement District, with the intention of increasing the revenue of local hotels.

• A discussion on the city’s implementation of a renewable energy resources procurement plan.

(6) comments

DeltaDog
DeltaDog

Out of control? Really? I've lived in this town for 40 years and the level of "illegal" fireworks didn't seem any worse this year than they did in other years. Were there any injuries reported from the "safe and sane" fireworks? How about fires? We were promised a veritable conflagration if fireworks were allowed, how did that turn out? How many of the 400% increase in calls were for fireworks that were not illegal? Good grief Mr. Lingl, a war zone, really? Give the rhetoric a rest for crying out loud. We've had people using fireworks in Lompoc for years and we managed to survive, I say keep them legal.

moms-kid
moms-kid

It was never reported if the groups that sold the fire works actually made any money. Someone told me, one group said, their profit was extreamly low and not worth their time. And, then, we read, that the City's fire works show had less attendance. It does not sound like the safe and sane fire works was very profitable for anyone.

vtcompgeek
vtcompgeek

Bottom line: what are the stats on injuries and property damage. If none, then all these theatrics should be worthless. Unfortunately, the Council doesn't use hard facts, they instead go with what's popular with the older crowd because they are the ones who pay for their elections and vote.

KeepingItHonest
KeepingItHonest

Lompoc city council has been full of idiots for years . And I don't see why fire and police want to change things now when they condoned it at first that's how dumb they are. Instead of worrying about fire works council should question why Lompoc police got 3 new police SUVs worth over 150,000$ of tax payer money . Ridiculous

Cherokee29
Cherokee29

Agree with you, KeepingItHonest. Oh, and have you gotten a load of Fire's new SUV AND Crew-Cab Pickup? Must be nice!

Plover Hunter
Plover Hunter

WOW, the amount of stupidity and lack of logic comes to mind when I read this garbage.
PLEASE, Somebody please tell me where in the name of rubber cement this supposed 400% increase in calls has anything to do with the safe and sane fireworks???? Hey SUPPOSED Councilman Lingl, did it ever occur to you that there are still people in this city that ACTUALLY still believe in the concept of FREEDOM?????

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