Fireworks OK, for now, in Empire Township
A new state law allows people to light fireworks on their own private property. Board members briefly Tuesday at their monthly meeting discussed stepping in to regulate them.
Empire Village resident Mary Sharry had asked the township to curb the shooting off of fireworks capable of going up in the air or making a loud noise.
Supervisor Bill Bolton said he talked with Glen Lake fire chief John Dodson about township options. Glen Arbor Township adopted a resolution in 1998 banning fireworks displays, a ban that was upheld in the 13th Circuit Court when a township resident filed a civil suit in 2008.
Bolton said Dodson advised him if Empire Township wanted to enact a similar ban, it should do so as an ordinance, not a resolution.
Trustee Carl “Bucky” Noonan said he didn’t think the township could ban a fireworks display on private property. “You can’t shoot them off on public property, but you can on private,” he said.
Bolton said he will continue to research the matter.
In other business the board unanimously approved:
• A motion by Bolton, seconded by trustee Phil Deering, to set the township Planning Commission recording secretary’s wage at $50 for up to three hours work, and then $14 per hour for each hour she works over three. The board members had agreed to the same pay rate in December by consensus but took no vote.
• A request from Clerk Christine Neiswonger authorizing her to get a credit card in the township’s name with a $1,000 limit to eliminate electronic fund transfers (EFT) from the township’s bank accounts. Neiswonger said she has had problems with companies that use EFTs as payment not provide a full invoice for items bought by the township. “If we have a dispute about the amount of a purchase, we don’t always have a full invoice of the transaction if we pay by EFT from our bank accounts,” she said. With a credit card purchase Neiswonger said it’s easier to stop a payment if there is a billing dispute.
• Scheduled a work session for Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. in the township office to put together a proposed 2011-12 budget. The township fiscal year runs from April 1- March 31.