New Fireworks Law 'Clearly Hasn't Worked,' City Leaders Say
Rochester Hills councilmembers express concerns about 3 a.m. booms over July Fourth holiday.
They were big and colorful and loud and — according to some Rochester Hills leaders — a real nuisance.
Though the fireworks are now legal to buy and sell in Michigan, and though they were legal to use on July 3, 4 and 5 in the city, many residents complained — and city leaders agreed.
"It's ridiculous what's going on in our neighborhoods right now," said City Council President Greg Hooper. "In my opinion, we are waiting for a tragedy."
Hooper spoke during councilmembers' comments at Monday night's regular meeting about the Fireworks Safety Act, the new state law that legalized devices like bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers to be sold and used in Michigan.
"That clearly hasn't worked," he said. "It's absolutely absurd what the Legislature has done."
Legislators passed the Fireworks Safety Act, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed last Dec. 13, to generate sales tax revenue and registration fees. Sellers pay $1,000 annually for a permanent site or $600 for a tent or other seasonal, outdoor location.
Councilmember Michael Webber said he received countless emails and phone calls about the proliferation of fireworks — including complaints of fireworks at 3 a.m.
Rochester Hills and Rochester adopted ordinances that allowed for the use of fireworks on July 3, 4 and 5 only. However, city officials said they received reports of fireworks on many of the nights leading up to the legal ones.
"I certainly understand wanting to capture sales tax money that is going to Indiana and Ohio," Webber said. "But certainly, when it sounds like a war zone, I agree with President Hooper that somebody could get hurt, because we are talking about bigger and better fireworks than the state has ever allowed before."
Across the state, local leaders have been busy expressing similar concerns.
In St. Clair Shores on Monday night, councilmembers approved a resolution that calls for the repeal of the Act.
According to a report Saturday on MLive.com, state leaders are willing to give the Act some more time before making changes.