VASSALBORO — Even as a resident raised safety concerns, selectmen decided against putting an ordinance regulating fireworks on the warrant for the June 11 Town Meeting.

Resident Jim Poulin on Thursday asked selectmen to prepare the ordinance, noting that many communities have adopted local rules now that state law permits the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

Poulin said fireworks are an annoyance to neighbors and dangerous to people and property. He predicted grass and woods fires will become common.

State law still prohibits anyone under 21 from setting off fireworks and limits hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on July 4 and a few other occasions. In Vassalboro, juveniles are setting off fireworks at 2 a.m., Poulin said.

He recommended either banning fireworks or limiting them to one or two days a week or, at minimum, requiring permits so volunteer firefighters would know when to expect potential fires.

Selectmen were not especially sympathetic to loud noises. They were less sympathetic to more regulation, mostly because they consider a fireworks ordinance unenforceable.

Police Chief Richard Phippen said he has received half a dozen complaints, but has not yet taken anyone to court for violation of the state fireworks law.

Selectmen did decide on Thursday to place five other items on the warrant:

* three amendments to town ordinances requested by Donald Robbins, co-owner of East Vassalboro Water Company, assuming that the Planning Board forwards a request to add the amendments;

* a resolution in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to say that corporations are not people, presented by resident Jane Edwards; and

* a new town ordinance that would exempt active duty military personnel from vehicle excise taxes, proposed by Town Manager Mary Sabins after a resident asked for the exemption.

Robbins’ proposed ordinance changes require that the water company be notified of planned new buildings, businesses and subdivisions in its well-head protection zone in East Vassalboro.

Robbins emphasized that company officials cannot veto a project. They are allowed to comment, reminding planners or the codes officer of state laws protecting public underground water supplies.

Edwards said the corporate personhood resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case has been approved in many communities in Maine and elsewhere.

Selectmen approved submitting the resolution to voters on a 2 to 1 vote, with Robert Browne dissenting because he fears the impact on small businesses such as his Natanis Golf Course.

Browne also dissented on the ordinance to exempt active duty military personnel from excise taxes. Sabins didn’t know how much the exemption would cost the town and Browne said he was reluctant to reduce town revenues by even a few thousand dollars.

Sabins said the exemption is allowed under state law if town voters also authorize it.


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