City Administrator Andy Morris and Councilman Jake Bohi Thursday night agreed to work with Police Chief Shawn Armstrong on finding ways to better enforce the fireworks ordinance as the July 4 holiday approaches.
The council agreed to have Armstrong and Morris approach the issue with Armstrong after a discussion at the June 18 council meeting.
“I like things that go bang,” said Bohi, who once served on the bomb squad of the Phoenix, Ariz. Police Department, “but I’m getting calls complaining about explosions in Bloomfield that are outside the norm of class 1.4 fireworks.
“Bloomfield has a good code, but we need to let the police department know that we support them in enforcing it. It is not legal at any time to fire off commercial and homemade fireworks. I think we need to do a better job on these illegal fireworks.”
Bohi said he especially worries about veterans with PTSD. “These fireworks send them into a nightmare. We just don’t need these explosions.”
Councilman Matt Cronin said at certain times of the year it would be helpful to step up enforcement even if it does mean overtime hours for the police department.
Bohi suggested getting the dispatchers to send officers out when there is a complaint. “We’ll never catch them if the officers don’t go out. If the officers do find the fireworks, they need to confiscate them and write a ticket.”
Morris agreed and said this is the time to increase police presence.
Cronin feels the situation has gotten more out of control in the past few years and said, “I don’t think residents should have to get up and call the police. Citizens are paying the taxes; they should expect the police to be supported in this.”
Bohi finished the discussion by saying he has taught classes on fireworks classifications and offered to do so for the Bloomfield Police Department.
City Recreation Director Taylor Sessions spoke to the council about providing more opportunities for the public to use the city’s swimming pool this summer. She said Pool Manager Jill Nelson has been approached by people in the community wanting to rent the pool for private parties.
Sessions suggested those who rent the pool pay a fee of $100 to the city plus wages for five lifeguards hired by the city for the occasion.
Cronin agreed and said, “The more things we can open up for the kids, the better.”
Sessions said the lifeguards giving private lessons would likely agree to work private pool parties.
The council agreed to the proposal for pool parties as long as city lifeguards are used and the host pays the lifeguard fees.
The only days the pool would be available for private parties would be on Sundays. Swimming lessons and adult lap swims and aqua-fitness classes fill up the pool’s schedule five days a week, and Saturdays are used for makeup lessons.
Sessions said she is also thinking about opening the pool for community use in August if lifeguards are available. Earlier this spring, city officials believed repair work would be done on the pool in August, but that has now been postponed until next year.
During his report, Police Chief Shawn Armstrong requested permission to purchase four body cameras for a total of $1,600. “These would be bigger and sturdier cameras than the department currently has,” he said. “In today’s world, we need to make sure we have them and wear them at all times.”
The council agreed, and gave Armstrong permission to order the cameras immediately.
Fire Chief Jeff McClure reported the contractor is ready to pour part of the concrete for the memorial wall at the fire station. He also said the fire department has filled one pool at a private residence, and the department is prepared to set off fireworks for the July 4 display at Lake Fisher.
Bloomfield Main Street Director Judy Dorman said the organization is beginning to plan for the Fall Festival and is considering writing a Challenge Grant for one building in the Main Street District.
Dorman said $21,000 worth of Bloomin’ Bucks have been sold, and a total of $7,000 has been donated for sponsored bucks. Twelve thousand dollars’ worth of bucks have been redeemed by local businesses.
Morris reported he has/is working with 16 property owners to abate nuisances.
He also said he would like to register Bloomfield to be a part of the Keep Iowa Beautiful program and get a campaign started to clean up the community.
DPW Richard Wilcox reported a structural engineer visited Bloomfield June 16 to assess the condition of 112 and 113 S. Madison Street on the west side of the square. The engineer will be preparing a report to present to the council.
Development Director Tammy Roberts said she is assembling a team to coordinate a Bridges Out of Poverty program in Davis County.
In other action the council:
• approved an amendment to the FY 2020 budget;
• approved a resolution for an interfund transfer;
• approved a proposal to enter into a development agreement with Craig and Jacki Amstutz and Amstutz Farms, Inc. D/B/A Essential Massage & Spa;
• approved removing all references to “city clerk” in Ordinance 18A, which sets forth the duties of the City Administrator;
• approved a handbook governing all city employees;
• heard a report from an HR Green representative saying paving on the North Street project should begin this week;
• approved the final payment to Lawson Construction for water main and wastewater improvements;
• approved the final payment of $7,500 for phase 3 of the trail project;
• tabled a payment on HR Green invoices until discrepancies in wage rates are explained;
• approved tobacco permits for Casey’s, J’s One Stop, Route 63 Quick Stop, and Dollar General;
• accepted a bid of $1,175 to install markers at the IOOF Cemetery.