Thursday, May 23, 2013
WATERVILLE — Petitioner Kendrick Whitney failed to gather enough signatures to have the city reconsider a consumer fireworks ban.
Whitney, 45, needed 1,506 signatures from registered voters by 5 p.m. Monday to get the issue on the ballot.
He said he gathered about 1,200.
"I couldn't get door-to-door enough -- there are a lot of homes in Waterville," he said.
Whitney said he probably will try to circulate another petition asking that the fireworks ban be amended to allow people to sell and use fireworks on certain days and during specific hours.
City councilors voted 7-0 June 5 to prohibit the sale and use of consumer fireworks within city limits. The ban took effect June 18.
City Clerk Patti Dubois said at the time that the required 1,506 signatures represents 15 percent of the number of voters who were registered at the last municipal election.
If Whitney had collected 1,506 signatures, the petition would have been presented to councilors. The council could either have passed the requested petition item or have referred the issue to voters.
Whitney attended a council meeting last week, asking councilors to change their minds and allow people to use fireworks in a restricted manner.
"I think the City Council may have acted a little harshly in a total ban on fireworks," he told those present.
Whitney said he understood why people do not like fireworks exploding at night, but residents like to use them for celebrations such as graduations and anniversaries.
Councilor Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4, told Whitney that the fireworks decision was based not only on noise issues, but also on safety concerns. He said city officials are concerned about fireworks starting fires, especially in densely populated areas such as the city's South End neighborhood, where houses are close together.
South End resident Charles Poulin stood to say he opposes fireworks because of the debris that is left in the streets.
Amy Calder -- 861-9247