PERALTA — The Peralta Town Council discussed the possibility of year-around firework sales at a recent council meeting.
Valley Fireworks owner Randy Spartz is requesting that he be allowed to sell fireworks all year long. The business owner collected more than 300 signatures in support of year-around fireworks, and said that people buy fireworks for birthdays, graduations, funerals, barbecues and weekend celebrations.
“People close to us, our local people, so many of them come in and they actually say to me, ‘That’s why I live in Peralta; because I get to play with fireworks,’” Spartz said.
Two Peralta residents at the meeting told the council they did not like the idea of year-around fireworks.
“I’m against fireworks all year around,” said Maddy McGee. “I have rescue animals and these people are irresponsibly shooting them off and it frightens the animals.”
She said the noise causes cows and horses to run through barbed-wire fences.
“If we have it all year around, I don’t know what we’re going to do with the animals — this is supposed to be rural,” McGee said. “
During Fourth of July celebrations, livestock owners are able to pen their animals, McGee said, because they know in advance that there will be fireworks.
“But if people have access all year long, it’s going to be nothing but a heartache for the majority of people with their animals,” she said.
“I agree with her 100 percent because it scares the animals,” said Ted Roybal, a local veteran. “Hearing it constantly for a week before and a week after is too much. Let’s celebrate (the holiday) when it’s supposed to be celebrated and that’s it.”
The noise from fireworks can also disturb some military veterans who have experienced trauma and veterans suffering from PTSD, McGee added.
Agreeing with some of the points made by the residents, Councilor Randy Smith said the flip side is that annual fireworks sales could increase the town’s gross receipts tax revenue.
“As a businessman, I appreciate the gross receipts sales from business and the success of business,” Smith said. “Me personally, I’m not opposed to annual, year-around fireworks as long as the town of Peralta considers how we’re going to allow residents in our community to use fireworks.”
Town officials said they will re-evaluate the fireworks ordinance.
“Every other community allows ‘safe and sane’ devices,” said Mayor Bryan Olguin.
In a phone interview, the mayor explained that safe and sane devices fly less than 15 feet off the ground and are labeled with “caution” rather than “warning.”
The mayor’s wife, Gabby, sells fireworks on commission for TNT Fireworks.
“That’s what most people do; the safe and sane,” he said. “We throw fireworks pretty much all year-around (and use them) at every celebration — most of my neighbors do also.”
Fires, drought conditions and the ire of surrounding municipalities with fireworks restrictions were the concerns of Councilor Joseph Romero.
“Los Lunas, for example, they don’t allow some of the fireworks that we sell down here,” Romero said. “And guess what? (Fireworks bought in Peralta) are going up to Los Lunas and I’m sure they’re getting a ton of calls about it, which I think is something to consider.”
He said there is probably a happy medium if the town can regulate it responsibly.
Spartz said not all residents know there is a no ban on fireworks or that fireworks are allowed in the state 365 days a year.
“It’s not illegal to use fireworks this evening if you wanted to,” he said. “I actually agree with everyone here. I would love to be able to find a happy medium and be able to supply people with what they want to do and not make things dangerous.”
The town council will not take any action on the matter until they review the fireworks ordinance, the mayor said.
Later this month or in early October, Olguin said the town council and Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a joint workshop to review the town’s ordinances.