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Mustang City Council discuss firework guidelines

Mayor Brian Grider listens to a citizen’s comments during the fireworks discussion at the Aug.1 City Council meeting. (Photo by Jacob Sturm)

By Jacob Sturm

In the weeks following the July 4 festivities, concerns have been raised regarding Mustang
resident’s usage of fireworks during impermissible times as identified in the city ordinances
available to the public.

Those concerns took center stage at the Mustang City Council meeting held at City Hall on Aug.
1, where citizens had an opportunity to voice their opinions and hear their ward
representatives’ thoughts on the matter.

Councilman Travis McKenzie opened the discussion among councilmembers by stating his
concerns for the pets afraid of the explosions, or veterans who suffer through PTSD as a result
of the fireworks going off at times where they aren’t permitted.

“Some have to medicate their dogs (during the fireworks),” McKenzie said. “I’m one of those
owners… I’ve got several people in my ward that have PTSD, and when this begins that’s when
it becomes concerning to me because it’s actually an intrusion on them to a certain degree.”

Multiple residents came forward when they were called and spoke to the benefits the firework
stands have had for the clubs they represent.

Rob Estes, the President of the Mustang Lions Club, spoke to the council and mentioned
condensed days for the fireworks would only cause more traffic chaos. He also emphasized
frustrations with how participants fail to dispose of the fireworks following the celebrations.
Other citizens mentioned the benefits of the weekend prior to July 4 as the largest sales dates
for the Marching Band stands, and that there would not be any sales during that weekend if a
proposed ordinance goes into place for the next year.

A common theme from the public comments centered around enforcement of the ordinances
on dates outside of the allotted times, providing harsher penalties for those who choose to go
against the ordinance.

Paul ray, a member of the American Legion Post 353 in Mustang, also spoke to the fireworks
and his thoughts regarding the regulations.

“Yes, I know when the Fourth of July comes around, but from the benefits this city receives, I
can give up a week,” Ray said. “…There’s a lot of benefits that come from fireworks, and have
been coming from fireworks for at least 44 years. I know.”

Mayor Brian Grider then asked each councilmember how many calls they have received
regarding fireworks throughout their time in the position.

Grider mentioned he had received two calls during his eight years on the city council. He also
mentioned sales tax leakage as a concern for the city to contemplate if they were to choose to
push firework sales back by a few days within the city limits.

He mentioned other entities selling fireworks before the stands in city limits can, and added
that pushing back the dates would only encourage more of those sales to go to entities that
wouldn’t help the city or those clubs.

“I don’t see any possible way for us to shorten it,” Grider said. “It would only hurt our city, and
it will only hurt our nonprofits because people are going to spend that money. They’re going to
and they’re going to go right down the road and spend it somewhere that we get no benefit
from whatsoever. And that’s my biggest concern.”

Grider also read statements from each nonprofit entity who had a stand in Mustang stating the
impact the fireworks had on them.

Councilman Josh Leete, who is a combat veteran, spoke in favor of the fireworks sales.

“I’m all on board for the continuation of it, which fortunately it sounds like everybody here is at
least on board with the continuation of the sales and the benefits that provides,” Leete said. “It
sounds like nobody has been opposed to that. What I would say is it sounds like maybe there’s
questions about the ordinances and do they need to be changed.”

Leete said he thought there was another layer to look into before making that decision. He
suggested asking the police officers about the struggles they deal with in the enforcement of
the ordinances.

He asked for the council to do their due diligence if they determined there are policies they will
look into going forward.

The agenda item was listed as a discussion item only, and the city council members did not take
any actions following the discussion.

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