By NICK BUDD
After recent rains, the Hays City Commission discussed lifting the fireworks ban last night at its work session. Currently, fireworks can neither be sold nor set off over the Fourth of July holiday.
Dan Thyfault and Roy Herman, fireworks vendors, were present at the meeting to express their concerns.
“I think the Lord did his job and now it’s up to you guys,” Thyfault said, referring to recent rain in the city.
Herman spoke of some of the benefits to the city if they we’re to lift the ban.
“I know there would be some good tax revenue and business because of the drought we’ve had over the past couple of years,” he said. “Everybody’s chomping at the bit. Not just myself, but everybody that likes to enjoy Independence Day and celebrate it. It’s such an American manner that they have the freedoms to do so.”
Commissioner Eber Phelps brought up concerns about the enforcement due to the fact that the county has a similar ban in place.
“The county has kept the ban in place and the cities of Ellis and Victoria have done the same thing,” Phelps said. “So when we look at Hays and the county, I think enforcement becomes an issue. I think consistency is what I’m leaning towards.”
Commissioner Shaun Musil said “it would be nice to celebrate something” due to the recent water conservation efforts by the residents.
“We’re constantly asking them to please conserve and they’ve done a great job. I think it would be nice to have something to celebrate,” Musil said.
He also brought up the idea of simply placing a permanent ban on fireworks due to the factors that are being taken into consideration.
“We allowed fireworks three years ago, and I can’t imagine that it was any greener then than it is now,” Musil said. “If we’re not going to have them, we should not have them at all and not discuss this.”
Mayor Henry Schwaller responded later in the meeting by talking about the relationship with the county.
“If they don’t have a fireworks ban, then we can’t do it.” Schwaller said. “If we’re not all in it together, then we suddenly have boundaries that we don’t want.
Commissioner Ron Mellick brought up concerns that he learned of through social media and ensured he was a fan of fireworks.
“This is what I’ve had at my house since we banned them last time,” Mellick said as he pulled out a roll of fireworks. “I do like fireworks and so I am not against them per se. I can still remember what it was like when we used to shoot them off as a kid and even when the ban wasn’t in place.
“Other commissioners have said they don’t want wheat fields catching on fire,” he added. “Well, I don’t want anybody’s house catching on fire.”
Commissioners agreed to revisit the issue at a later work session.