City Council Chambers at Socorro City Hall

 

A petition signed by more than 80 people across Socorro has circulated which calls for the banning of aerial devices for private use as well as ground audible devices. The petition prompted a discussion on banning fireworks at the most recent city council meeting.

“I am open to the idea of there being a window that is open and closed for sales,” Mayor Ravi Bhasker said. “But I am also very much opposed to banning fireworks all together. We’ll wait and see what the council says so that I can bring forth a proposal.”

While nothing was formally presented, the main consensus appeared to be allowing the sale of fireworks somewhere between 12 to 20 days prior to and after such holidays as the 4th of July and New Year’s. Multiple private citizens were also concerned about the time of day in which people are able to set off fireworks. Not all council members were able to attend the meeting, so a motion was not presented.

Robert Vaughn was one of the concerned citizens to speak up about the fireworks during the meeting. Vaughn lives just off of School of Mines Road near New Mexico Tech.

“The noise, fire hazard, and extended period of time fireworks are sold is what concerns me,” he said. “I’ve been speaking with the council since last July about making an ordinance to restrict the use of dangerous explosives. It’s not fair that I can’t sit on the porch and enjoy my evening because fireworks are blasting into my yard. Plenty of other cities up and down I-25 have ordinances banning certain fireworks and for some reason we do not.”

“I’m not a fan of mortars or large rockets,” Bhasker said. “But our country is made great by celebrating our history. This is important to the people and fireworks have always been a great way of doing those things. We’re just trying to put together an ordinance that is enforceable and has some teeth to it.”

Designated holidays and events under the proposed ordinance are also under discussion. Not only national holidays, but local celebrations as well as weddings and funerals. The mayor also said the city’s police force employee numbers being down makes it harder to enforce illegal fireworks going off.

Other Business:

• Coach and former Athletic Director Chris Rottman presented ongoing plans to the council for the Socorro High School Core Ambassador Program. So far there are two senior ambassadors, Rose Valenzuela and Ryan Rottman. The goal of the program is to release information to the students and help to identify and prevent substance abuse. The initial core team for the program hopes to work their way down all the way to the freshman level at SHS.

Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain