City of South Sioux City split on revising firework ordinance

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — It’s been more than a week since it was legal to display fireworks, but discussion over what might be acceptable next year is already underway.

A week after the Fourth of July holiday, South Sioux City council members are split on revising the current fireworks ordinance.

Mayor Rod Koch said he’s not opposed to keeping the current ordinance for one more year.

“If we have any more problems, I’ll be more in favor of cutting it down to 5-6 days or maybe a week,” Koch said.

Others are suggesting an ordinance similar to Sioux City’s, which allows fireworks from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., July 3 to July 4.

South Sioux City’s ordinance allows the use of fireworks from June 24 to July 3 between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on July 4 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. This, as the number of fireworks calls in South Sioux City dropped from 122 to 112 during the holiday.

“I know there was a lot of press out there that said, you know, ‘This is a great time of year, but there are people that are bothered, so please use respect,'” said Chief Ed Mahon, of the South Sioux City Police Department.

Calls in Sioux City were also down from 504 last year to 383. However, Officer Andrew Dutler said different rules on both sides of the river can make things confusing.

“We’re probably always going to be dealing with some element or some issue in regards to fireworks because of the proximity we have to other states,” Dutler said.

Mayor Koch blamed the pandemic for last year’s anomaly.

“I think that maybe ’cause of COVID, people being boxed up, they were using up fireworks and being out more and letting off steam more,” Koch said.

Mayor Koch said the best approach the city can take is a change not in its ordinance, but in its communication.

“A campaign might be a good idea, maybe next year, a few days before the fireworks happens, talk about, you know the rules,” Koch said.

“Most people really want to do the right thing, so it falls upon us as a department, and maybe the city, to be more proactive. Let’s get the times and dates out there so there is no doubt, and just do what we can to politely but firmly enforce that,” Mahon said.

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