Fireworks at Cave Creek Council meeting

With the recent decision by Town staff to not permit the fireworks display at Harold’s on July 3, the call to the public brought several people to the podium to voice their displeasure. Larry Wendt, owner of the Buffalo Chip, said the fireworks are a tradition and have been a big night for his employees to get money to pay bills in the slower summer months. He asked if the matter could be reconsidered.

Daniel Piacquadio, owner of Harold’s, presented the Council with documentation showing the site where the fireworks were going to be launched. He has had landscapers in there clearing brush and has reduced shell sizes for the fireworks to two and two and half inch shells. It is very common for fireworks shows to utilize five inch and larger shells. The small shells mean a lesser spread of debris after the shell explodes. He also proposed to have water trucks keep the fallout area moist. He also offered to contract with Rural Metro to have additional firefighting resources available beyond what Rural Metro has provided in the past.

Piacquadio pointed out that the Cave Creek Balloon Festival fireworks we’re just held 3 weeks prior, and the town approved those fireworks. He also said that the ordinance regarding fireworks is to vaguely written.

Mike Baxley, Cave Creek Building and Fire Safety Official presented the reasons why the fireworks were denied, showing statistics that included rainfall history and predictions, wind predictions, and Forest Service fire warnings. For example he showed data from a rain gauge located less than a mile from the site of the proposed fireworks, and it registered only four one hundredths of an inch of rain over this past weekend. The data also showed there had not been a significant amount of rainfall since August of last year. When data showed that wind speed projections would be in the 15 to 20 mile an hour range. This would double the size of the projected fallout zone of the fireworks.

Councilwoman Susan Clancy said the council should take another look at the fireworks ordinance and requested it be put on a future Town Council agenda.

Approval was granted to the Final Plat of The Reserve at Black Mountain subdivision and for a Bar Liquor License for Z’s House of Thai were unanimously approved from the consent agenda.

The council also voted unanimously to have the Town Manager execute the intergovernmental agreement for law enforcement services with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. The second reading of an ordinance regarding activation of water service and reactivation or transfer of water service also got a unanimous nod from the board. Council also approved $32,400 to recoat the interior wall of a potable water storage tank. It’s a steel tank that is showing signs of corrosion. Once that work is completed the tank would be good for at least another 10 years. Two vehicle purchases were discussed. An F350 Super Crew with utility bed and lift gate and an F250 Super Crew with utility bed were both approved. These vehicles are both replacing 14 year old vehicles that are having reliability issues.

The final item of the council agenda was the adoption of the towns tentative 2018-19 budget. After much discussion, including concerns over water rates, Capital Improvement Projects in the Water Services, and employee overtime in the Water Department, it was decided that more work needs to be done on the budget. However a tentative budget needs to be adopted by the town by June 30th. Once adopted the budget can be revised, but not increased. The motion was made to accept the tentative budget and passed by a 5-2 to vote with Councilwomen Eileen Wright and Mary Elrod voting against the budget. The July 2 council meeting will be a budget hearing.