GARDINER — Residents will get another chance to discuss a new fireworks ordinance draft at tonight’s council meeting.

Councilors will hear the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would ban the use of fireworks within the city but allows the sale and distribution of fireworks at the city-owned Libby Hill Business Park.

The proposal would have prohibited both the sale and use of fireworks in Gardiner, but two weeks ago councilors amended it to allow a warehouse and retail store in the business park.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the city attorney updated language in the amended proposal. The second reading of it is scheduled for July 11, he said.

Steve Marson, owner of Central Maine Pyrotechnics, told councilors at their June 6 meeting that the business park was an ideal location for a warehouse to keep inventory for his retail stores. The proposed ordinance also would allow him to have a retail store in the warehouse, where people could buy fireworks.

Marson has opened three fireworks stores — in Manchester, Winslow and Edgecomb — while stores in Ellsworth and Presque Isle are scheduled to open this month.

Morelli said he spoke to Marson about buying a lot in the business park, but added that he doesn’t think the discussion will go any further until after the second and final reading of the ordinance proposal.

In other business, councilors at their meeting tonight also will discuss a policy about credit cards used by employees to purchase materials and services for the city. Morelli said the credit card would not be used for personal purchases of any kind.

He said the city would be able to provide prompt payment to vendors and enhance the city’s relationships with suppliers. City departments using the program also could establish limits and restrictions on individual purchases, he said.

He said the city’s finance director would monitor the program, checking credit card statements with submitted receipts to ensure the card is being used only for city business and the amounts are correct.

Morelli said a credit card program would help prevent employees from needing to use their personal debit and credit cards for certain transactions and allow the city to accrue credit card points to help pay for expenses such as travel to conferences and employee recognition gifts.

He said the full balance always would be paid off, so there would be no interest accrued or penalties levied.

Councilors also expect to hear the second readings of several spending budgets, including the city’s general fund budget, with a 2 percent decrease; the ambulance fund balance, decreased by 3.5 percent; and a wastewater budget that increased 1.1 percent.

“We are switching to the new billing method in less than a month so that change will result in some people seeing higher bills, some seeing lower bills and some seeing relatively little or no change in their bills,” Morelli said.

He said residents’ bills will be linked more closely to their use than their potential use.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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