WATERVILLE — Anyone caught shooting off fireworks in the city or selling them as of June 18 will face hefty fines.

City councilors voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve a consumer fireworks ordinance, effective that date, which bans the sale and use of fireworks.

The unanimous vote followed recent complaints from residents about fireworks.

Anyone who sells fireworks would be fined $300 to $500 for a first offense and $600 to $1,000 for subsequent ones, according to the ordinance. Anyone using fireworks would be fined $200 to $400 for a first offense and $300 to $600 for subsequent ones.

Police will enforce the ordinance and summon those who violate it.

“We’ll warn people for the first week,” police Chief Joseph Massey said Wednesday.

Police during the last couple of weeks have received about 40 calls from residents complaining about fireworks.

The Legislature lifted the state ban on the sale, use and possession of fireworks.

Massey said he thinks that easy access to fireworks, in part because a fireworks store opened in neighboring Winslow, is the reason for the high number of people using them. If the store were in southern Maine, the city would likely not be dealing with so many, he said.

“It’s unfortunate, but I think the numbers of calls and complaints about fireworks disturbing people requires us to go ahead with an ordinance to simply ban them,” he said.

He said police could handle a few calls, but without an ordinance, he could see his department receiving hundreds of complaints during the summer.

City Manager Michael Roy said people should be aware of the ordinance if they live in Waterville, so that they will not buy fireworks for the Fourth of July.

“I’ve been surprised at the number of complaints that we have gotten,” he said.

He said that, like Massey, he was not convinced early on that an ordinance was needed.

“But we’re getting complaints, really, from all parts of the city and they’re not just single complaints — there are quite a few repeats,” said Roy.

Roy said that the only way an organization or institution can have a fireworks display is to get a permit from the state fire marshal’s office.

Sparklers and other small ignitable devices typically sold in department and other stores are legal and allowable, he said.

In another matter Tuesday, the council voted to declare a burned-out house at 25 Oak St. a dangerous building and a nuisance. As part of the vote, the city requires the homeowner to tear down the building, remove the debris and fill the cellar hole within 30 days or the city will do it. The cost of about $10,000 for the work would be assessed against the value of the property if the owner does not re-pay the city.

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