April 12, 2007

Highland CA plans to vigorously promote its ban on fireworks

Does not look like a new ban but rather putting some teeth into an existing ban

10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Press-Enterprise

Highland plans to vigorously promote its ban on fireworks over the next three months through fliers to all homeowners, notices in utility bills and magnetic signs on city-owned vehicles.

The Highland City Council voted 3-0 Tuesday night to approve the public awareness campaign. Councilman John Timmer and Councilwoman Jody Scott were absent.

According to a staff report, complaints by residents and City Council members about fireworks are increasing.

"It's been an ongoing problem in this community for years," said City Manager Joe Hughes.

The public awareness campaign will cost $8,000 for printing, addressing and postage for the notice mailed to residents and community organizations, the staff report said. The notice, printed in English and Spanish, also will be included with June utility bills and on mailers sent home with students.

The Highland sheriff's Citizens on Patrol volunteers will go door-to-door to notify residents of the citywide prohibition, according to the staff report.

Overtime has been approved for additional law enforcement officers to enforce the policy leading up to the Fourth of July holiday and immediately afterward.

Highland will notify neighboring cities of the effort and city officials plan to coordinate all the citations for one court date to minimize overtime costs.

The city must get serious about ensuring that anyone violating the fireworks policy is held responsible, Mayor Ross Jones said.

"It's going to have no value unless we enforce it," Jones said.

Anyone caught using fireworks could receive a citation and fine of up to $500, or could be arrested, Highland sheriff's officials said.

Reach Julie Farren at 909-806-3066 or jfarren@PE.com

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