Safety committee to review DuBoistown fireworks rules

Responding to complaints from residents about the noise and frequency of fireworks in the borough this year, DuBoistown Borough Council discussed the possibility of enacting an ordinance to deal with the issue.

“It sounded like a war zone,” was the comment from one resident at Thursday’s meeting about the fireworks that were set off in her neighborhood for weeks around the Fourth of July holiday. She noted there is nowhere in the borough that is more than 150 feet from an occupied structure, which is a state restriction for where individuals can ignite consumer fireworks.

Borough solicitor Denise Dieter said part of the problem is that with the new state law, more display fireworks are now considered consumer fireworks. She also said one problem with enforcing an ordinance is getting the person who set off the fireworks to admit they did it.

Council referred the matter to its safety committee for further investigation. Members of the committee are: Mayor Norman J. Cowden, Police Chief Norman Hager and Councilmen Michael F. Rodgers, Eric Fausey and Richard Boyles.

In his monthly Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4, report, John Bickhart, engineering services manager at Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority, presented the annual status report and requested council authorize council President Larry Campbell to sign the report so it can be sent to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

He told council the report details all that has been done to comply with the MS4 requirements. He noted the borough has actually gone beyond what a lot of municipalities have done. Council agreed to have Campbell sign the report.

In conjunction with MS4, Bickhart urged council to begin thinking ahead to what still needs to be done and what funding will be needed to accomplish future goals. He said the borough needs to begin looking for grants but cautioned that there is “not a whole lot of money and a lot of people are looking for it.”

In response to a complaint from Cowden that the borough had sought answers from elected officials about the financial burden these costs incur, Bickhart added, “This is a big bullet and there’s no magic solution.”

In regular business, council approved:

• Advertising the International Property Maintenance Code ordinance.

• A proposal from the Cohen Law Group to renegotiate the borough’s cable franchise agreement at a cost of $5,900 to be paid in increments of one-third of the amount.

• The county’s bridge inspection program agreement. Campbell was instructed to sign the five-year agreement, which is of no cost to the borough.

• The resignation of John Peck from the planning commission.

• Hiring Walter Steinbacher as a part-time highway department employee on an as-needed basis.

• A motion to have Christine Beck and Robin Rundio develop a website for the borough at a cost not to exceed $500.

• Fire police non-emergency response requests.

Council members present were: Paul McKinley, Campbell, Rodgers and Eric Hine. Absent were Fausey, Boyles and Nathan Maynard.

The next council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the borough building, 2651 Euclid Ave.