SKOWHEGAN — Town Manager John Doucette Jr. has devised a plan to simplify the way residents can choose how, or if, they want to regulate the sale and use of fireworks.

But the plan probably will not be the end of the debate.

Two questions will appear on the Town Meeting election ballot June 12 — one will ask voters if they want to ban or restrict the sale of fireworks or use existing state guidelines; the other asks them if they want to ban or restrict personal use of fireworks, or use the state model.

A new state law allows the sale and use of most consumer fireworks throughout Maine, but it’s up to communities to decide whether they want to regulate them further.

With no ordinance in place, anyone can shoot off legal fireworks anywhere in Skowhegan, even downtown.

Selectmen were scheduled to discuss the final language of the proposed ballot question Tuesday night, but discussion was moved to the next board meeting on March 27 because not all of the five-member board were present.

If voters wish to ban or restrict fireworks, then a public hearing will have to be held and an ordinance written and brought to referendum, probably on Election Day in November.

A fireworks ordinance was brought to voters at a special town meeting in February, but was defeated 29-18. The ordinance would have allowed the sale and use of consumer fireworks, with some exceptions and with permits from the Fire Department, in certain parts of town outside the downtown area.

The fireworks ordinance spurred a lot of discussion, with some residents calling for a total ban and others saying it was too restrictive.

Some residents suggested during the meeting that voters approve the ordinance to put some restrictions in place as a protective measure and revisit the idea later.

Others said the proposed ordinance was too restrictive and permits should not be needed outside of the downtown area.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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