PALMDALE – Should the Palmdale City Council approve fireworks booth permits this 4th of July season, so that safe and sane fireworks can be sold for fundraising purposes?
The council will mull this question at their next meeting on Wednesday (June 5). However, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is urging Palmdale council members to say no to fireworks this season; he says it is a risk that the community cannot afford to take.
In a letter addressed to Palmdale leaders that was forwarded to the media on Tuesday, Parris writes:
Dear Mayor Ledford and Council Members,
As in years past, you will have the opportunity to consider whether or not “Safe and Sane” fireworks should be permitted to be sold within Palmdale’s City limits at tomorrow evening’s Palmdale City Council meeting. On behalf of the City of Lancaster and in the interest of all citizens of the Antelope Valley, I am writing to implore you to consider putting fireworks sales on hiatus for the 2013 4th of July season.
With a record lack of rain in the past year, extreme weather conditions facing the Antelope Valley have led to circumstances that are ripe for disastrous fires affecting thousands of local residents. This fact is currently being demonstrated by the Powerhouse Fire, which has burned more than 32,000 acres, caused the emergency evacuation of thousands of people, and destroyed several homes. At 60% containment, the fire has required the assistance of over 2,100 firefighters from throughout the state, with costs of fighting the fire – not including damage done –already at over $3 million.
While we understand that fireworks provide a much-needed revenue source for both the City of Palmdale and local nonprofit organizations in these times of economic difficulty, this revenue is simply not worth the immense risk. We understand and appreciate that Palmdale engages in increased enforcement efforts to mitigate this risk; however, it would take just one accidental or irresponsible use of these products to spark another significant fire incident. To protect the best interests of both of our cities as well as the surrounding communities, this is a risk we simply cannot afford to take.
We greatly appreciate your thoughtful consideration in this matter. [View the letter here]
Palmdale city staff has recommended that the council approve fireworks booth permits for 44 non-profit organizations, according to a city staff report. The fiscal impact to the City’s General Fund will be $41,536 in revenue, and proceeds from fireworks sales will benefit charitable and non-profit organizations within the community, according to the staff report.
UPDATED: At the council meeting on Wednesday, June 5, the Palmdale City Council approved fireworks booth permits to allow the sale of safe and sane fireworks for the 2013 Fourth of July season.