The battle over the possible banning of fireworks continues in Westminster.
This week, the City Council voted 3 to 2 to rescind an ordinance banning fireworks that was passed on Sept. 12. The move was prompted by a referendum drive mounted by a citizen’s group opposed to the ban.
The council must now decide whether to hold a special vote in March to let residents decide if fireworks should be banned, or hold the referendum later during a primary or a general election.
A special March election would cost the city about $38,000; a June or November vote would cost about $13,000, said City Clerk Mary Lou Morey.
Although the 3,734 signatures needed to qualify the referendum have been certified by the city clerk, they are being reviewed by the Orange County district attorney’s office, since 11 of the petition circulators were not registered voters.
Cathy Zoellner, leader of the citizen’s group against the ban, urged the council to place the issue on the November ballot, saying that a June vote would be ill-timed because it would all but cancel this year’s fireworks fund-raising hopes.
“The 29 organizations who have permits to sell fireworks will be in limbo,” Zoellner said. “Let these organizations have the chance to make the money they need to make.”
Emmett Fennimore, a resident involved in fireworks fund-raising for more than 25 years, also spoke out against a June vote.
“There’s no way I can sell fireworks if I have to wait until the June election to find out if I can have them at all,” he said.