Illegal fireworks may soon have a bigger impact on Turlock wallets

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Those who use illegal fireworks to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday can be fined ten times that amount if caught in previous years. Turlock City Council will consider at its next meeting on Tuesday whether to increase the penalty for using prohibited fireworks from $100 to $1,000 for a first offense.

A staff report prepared by Turlock Fire Marshal David Bickle states that “the number of dangerous fireworks used on and around the 4th of July was overwhelming, particularly with minimal staff “. Bickle argues that creating a higher fee will “provide a more persuasive tool to the enforcement officer” with the aim that those considering using illegal fireworks reconsider based on the possible financial impact .

The City of Turlock first instituted an illegal fireworks fine in 2018. Previously, if a police officer saw illegal fireworks being used, they could arrest the offender with a misdemeanor charge. Changes to the Municipal Code allow firefighters, as well as police officers, to deal with an illegal or dangerous fireworks incident. Firefighters and police can give a fireworks code violator the administrative citation. The 2018 code also changed it so that if a police officer hears a boom and finds smoke, burnt grass and the remains of a dangerous firework, they can issue a citation.

The proposed new municipal code would see each person who violates the ban on illegal fireworks be subject to a fee of $1,000 for a first offense, $1,500 for a second offense and $2,000 for a third offense or the following offences.

It also states that each parent, guardian or other person having legal care, custody or control of a person under the age of 18 would be issued a citation, in addition to any citation that may be issued to the offending minor.

The definition of dangerous and illegal fireworks is defined in Section 12505 of the Health and Safety Code and includes fireworks that contain arsenates, chlorates, magnesium; firecrackers, flares, Roman candles; tapers over 10 inches in length or a quarter inch in diameter; torpedoes; and DIY fireworks kits, among others.

All fireworks bearing the State Fire Marshal’s Safe and Sane seal are legal to use in the town of Turlock.

On Tuesday, the city council is also expected to:

· Hold a special road presentation workshop at 5:00 pm in the Yosemite Room at City Hall. During the workshop, Council will review, discuss and provide feedback to City staff regarding additional scenarios additional to the preliminary draft Pavement Management Program Report for the Roads Program;

· Consider commissioning improvements and training for the Fifth Street Community Lighting and Landscaping Assessment District and Street Maintenance Benefit Assessment Area. It will be a new subdivision on 15.86 acres and will feature 178 single family homes in a gated community;

Consider approving a pedicab ordinance that would allow pedicabs – three- or four-wheeled bicycles used to carry a maximum of 15 passengers for hire – to operate in Turlock and establish regulations on how they could operate and establish licensing and inspection requirements for the business and the pedicab;

Consider approving the 2021-22 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report for the Community Development Block Grant Program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program for the U.S. Department of Housing and Development urban ;

· Consider approving the purchase of 40 automated external defibrillators to be assigned to municipal police and public works departments using $30,000 from Measure A funds;

Consider allowing staff to modify the scope of work of the Lander Avenue rehabilitation project between D Street and Highway 99 to add an opening to the proposed concrete median on Lander Avenue to to allow a left turn from Lander northbound to Montana Street;

Consider approving changes to the job description, including changing the job title from Homeless Program Coordinator to Homeless/Homeless Programs Coordinator and changing the time position part-time full-time.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. Meetings are open to the public. The meetings are also livestreamed on the Turlock Council YouTube page.

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