Public fireworks display permit costs skyrocket

By C.J. Barbre

The Fourth of July is a busy night for fire departments. At the June 4 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Tulare County Fire Department was granted its request to raise certain fees, including the Public Fireworks Display Permit. None of the following fees have been increased since 1993.

Public Fireworks Display Permit fees were increased from $67 to $223. The old fee schedule was estimated to cover only 30% of the cost of inspections done right. The fire department said inspections had traditionally been done in 30 minutes, but it was determined that was insufficient time. They said it should take four hours from the time the truck carrying the fireworks opens up. With the increase in fees, they will not only inspect the load, they will stay through the display to make sure safety factors are observed after which they pick up any duds lying around. They said there are normally four to six public displays of fireworks during the year, including graduations and Exeter's celebration of the Fourth of July.

District 4 Supervisor Steve Worthley said it was a big jump for non-profits. "They may not be able to afford it," he said.

The fire department countered that the increased safety factor justified the increase.

The Exeter Fourth of July display is sponsored by the Lions Club. Spokesman Bill Sario said it would basically mean less fireworks. "It's disappointing because the extra $180 bucks isn't going to bail out the fire guys, it's not gonna help out. So what's that going to do? All it's going to do is hurt the clubs and the poor philanthropic organzations that try to put this stuff on. It's petty, but we'll get over it." Sario said the Lions Club has been putting on the fireworks display for 65 years and they wouldn't let this throw a wrench in the works.

Traditionally the county has forbidden any type of fireworks in unincorporated areas, but in 2003 they allowed Safe & Sane fireworks booths. Between 56-58 booths around the county will have Safe and Sane Fireworks for sale this year. Lindsay doesn't have a public fireworks display but last year some Safe & Sane fireworks were set off at Sweet Brier Plaza. There are no fee increases for Safe & Sane booths or displays.

Anyone found with illegal fireworks will be cited.

Other permit increases

Start typing and press Enter to search