ILWACO — The Ilwaco City Council opted to postpone a vote on an ordinance that would ban the sale and use of consumer fireworks within city limits at an unusually contentious meeting on Nov. 22.
The decision to postpone the vote came after councilors were concerned about technical language in the ordinance that referenced existing Washington state law. The ordinance narrowly had the votes to be passed, but was pushed back until the council's next meeting on Dec. 13 to give councilors and city staff more time to iron out the language.
Some of the concern over the language pertains to a state law that pushes back the ordinance from going into effect until the 2023 Fourth of July holiday. A bill introduced in the state House this year, House Bill 1059, would alter the law in question and allow prohibitions on consumer fireworks passed by cities or counties to take effect just 90 days after being adopted.
Looming technical changes aside, the bill continued to draw support from three councilors — Missy Bageant, Dave Cundiff and Jonathan Quittner — and opposition from two — Matt Lessnau and Kristen Mathison. The nearly 45-minute debate on the ordinance featured councilors, at times, cutting one another off and, in one instance, accusing councilors who favored the ordinance of supporting the arrest of children who might light off fireworks if the ordinance goes into effect.
The contention drew an apology from one councilor to the handful of virtual attendees before the meeting adjourned.
"Some of our citizens may not come to very many meetings, and I want to say that the amount of interrupting I heard at this meeting was more than the rest of the year put together," said Cundiff. "It's not usual behavior for us."
A more comprehensive recap of the meeting, which included comments from Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright about how his department does and would respond to fireworks complaints in Ilwaco, can be found in next week's Observer issue.