Merced supervisors to consider fireworks ordinance

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comMay 18, 2014 

The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will look at adopting a permanent fireworks ordinance for unincorporated parts of the county.

County supervisors temporarily approved fireworks stands in the unincorporated parts of Merced County last summer. The temporary ordinance allowed the sale and use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks after nonprofit organizations paid fees and passed a site inspection.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and state fire marshal would be responsible for issuing permits and approving booth locations. Although there would be no limit on the number of stands, the ordinance would allow the Fire Department to fine nonapproved booths.

County supervisors adopted the temporary ordinance less than a month before the Fourth of July last year, asking the Fire Department to gauge its success during the first year. Officials said earlier this month the ordinance helped reduced fireworks-related blazes from from eight to three.

The board will also look at releasing a Request for Proposal for architectural firms to provide design services for John Latorraca Correctional Center. In order to apply for funding to remodel the jail, the county must provide a “needs assessment” for the facility, including plans for projected improvements.

The county was denied $40 million in state funding last October because it lacked some of the required documentation, officials said.

County supervisors on Tuesday will also look at continuing a proclamation of a local emergency because of the drought, originally adopted Feb. 25. According to county documents, efforts are underway to better conserve and manage water in the county, including reducing irrigation at parks and Castle Commerce Center.

The county is beginning an awareness program to educate residents about the drought and encourage water conservation efforts, according to county documents. The efforts will be “critical” to adjust and manage through the current drought conditions.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in its chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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