GARDINER — The council on Wednesday agreed to allow local firefighters to do building code inspections instead of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

They also accepted a general assistance ordinance and heard the final reading of a fireworks ordinance.

The fireworks ordinance bans use in the city, but allows a business to sell them.

It takes 30 days for an ordinance to become effective once passed. It will go into effect on Aug. 10. Until then, they are still banned under a moratorium.

No one showed up for the public hearing held before the 5-2 vote on the fireworks ordinance.

Councilors also approved the first read of the delegated review ordinance, which allows the Fire Department to review and approve building plans instead of the fire marshal.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the ordinance will encourage larger businesses to locate or expand in Gardiner with “one-stop shopping” for all permits, rather than coming to the city for certain permits and then going to the Fire Marshal’s Office for the plans to be reviewed.

“That would now be able to happen all in Gardiner,” Morelli said. “This means one less layer of government for the builder, who will still pay the same amount in fees, but now that revenue will go entirely to the city. It’s win-win for both parties.”

Morelli said the city is one of a handful of communities that have National Fire Protection Association certified plan reviewers, which allows it to have the ordinance.

Fire Chief Mike Minkowsky told the council the ordinance will create a customer-friendly plan review process that eliminates a layer of government. Plans for public buildings can be approved by the city in lieu of the state, he said.

The city also may adopt the state’s fee schedule and keep the revenues, he said. This could generate up to $5,000 per year in additional revenues for the city, he said.

In other business:

* The general assistance ordinance, which is updated every year to reflect changes in state law, will reduce the maximum benefit by 10 percent and limit housing assistance to nine months. Changes will be in effect from July 1 through June 30, 2013.

* Councilors also discussed a request from Loads of Fun Laundromat and Gerald’s Pizza to relocate their propane tanks to the city-owned Arcade parking lot.

Loads of Fun doesn’t have the space on its property and Gerard’s Pizza’s request was the result of an order from the State Fire Marshal’s Office to move the tanks away from electrical meters attached to the building.

Morelli said the city wants to see the Arcade lot cleaned up and propane tanks in the lot would be contrary to that goal.

Options for Loads of Fun under consideration are to put the tanks in front of the building, which would jut out into the driving lane in the lot, to place them in a parking space farther out from the building and run the line underground or to bury the tank entirely.

Gerard’s Pizza would like to place its tanks near their Dumpster, which is on property leased from the city. This would require the owners to run lines underground.

Morelli said the city is committed to working with business owners to help ensure they can get the fuel they need to continue to run their businesses. He said one idea that could work in the future, but not in the short-term, would be a propane tank farm that serves all buildings and eliminates the myriad of tanks along the backs of the buildings.

“A common gas depot might make sense,” said Councilor Robert Johnston.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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