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Fiscal Court Takes Action On Fireworks

Lenox Hampton enjoys a sparkler at Lights Over Herrington in 2019. File image.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to more accurately reflect the ordinance and the use of 3-percent of collected fees for administration.

The Mercer County Fiscal Court has finally taken action on fireworks. The fiscal court also gave second reading to an ordinance establishing a fee on water meters to pay for 911 services, heard a request for speed limit signs on Bellows Mill Road and made board appointments.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 9, the fiscal court gave first reading to an ordinance bans the lighting of fireworks from midnight to 9 a.m. Anyone who violates the ordinance faces a $100 fine.

Magistrate Stephen “Pete” Elliott moved to give the ordinance first reading while Magistrate Kevin Hicks seconded. The motion passed unanimously. The county’s noise and nuisance ordinancehas been criticized by local law enforcement as vague. Local resident William Marshall has appeared before the magistrates about the issue. Marshall said they were not seeking to infringe anyone’s rights or challenge the legal status of fireworks but he said something had to be done on behalf of local pet owners, especially horse owners.

“There would be no need for that ordinance if people would be good neighbors,” said Magistrate Kevin Hicks.

The ordinance will not go into effect until the fiscal court gives it second reading. Fireworks retailers must be post the notice.

Water Meter Fee
The fiscal court gave second reading to an ordinance establishing a $1.75 per month service fee on residential and commercial water meters. The revenue will go to pay Bluegrass 911 Communications. The ordinance also allows the water companies to retain 3-percent of what is collected for administration.The ordinance goes into effect July 1.

Magistrate Susan Barrington moved to give the ordinance second reading while Magistrate Jackie Claycomb seconded it. The motion passed unanimously.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” said Magistrate Hicks.

“911 services are pretty daggone important,” said Judge-Executive Sarah Steele. Steele said 911 fees, which are collected on land lines, have been down since 2011. At the end of the current fiscal year, Mercer County will be over $200,000 short in funding 911, she said Steele said. In addition to establishing the fee, the ordinance also repeals the land line fees.

“We don’t want to double-charge our constituents,” Steele said.

She said the move would raise approximately $211,000 in revenue. The fee will not pay the past year’s deficit, Steele said, but it will cover the bill for the next few years, plus approximately $10,000 to cover any possible overages.

Steele said they will talk to the City of Harrodsburg, where approximately 62 percent of 911 calls originate.

Harrodsburg Mayor Scott Moseley asked if the fiscal court would be interested in finding a different facility, citing issues with Bluegrass 911 since they took over.

“Any issue we’ve had, they’ve remedied very quickly,” said Steele.

“All we’d have to do is give them 90 days notice,” said Moseley, who said there was the possibility of saving money. He also asked why the city hadn’t been involved earlier in the discussion.

“The city needs to be involved,” Moseley said.

Steele said Harrodsburg’s representative hadn’t attended recent board meetings.

“Have your rep come to meetings,” Steele said.

How to pay for 911 operations in a time of declining land lines is not a new problem between the city and the county. Back in 2019, both Harrodsburg and Burgin voted to institute a $40 parcel fee to pay for 911 operations, which subsequently failed to pass for lack of a motion at a special-called hearing of the fiscal court. That left the county to use carryover funds to pay for the federally-mandated service. In 2021, both the city and the county voted to merge services with Bluegrass 911.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Fonseca-Parker on May 17, 2023 at 11:40 am

    I have lived out in rural Mercer county for 38 years without any issues until developer built 4 homes within 750ft of me.
    Now there is not only increased traffic, but ATVs constantly going, and now sonic sounding FIREWORKS.
    The ones that are going off are not typical firecrackers but house-rattling explosions.
    Something must be done to protect the rural environment and citizens who bought land in rural areas to escape the noise of town and city.
    Fayette County has an ordinance that if it goes “BOOM” and is not held in hand it is NOT permitted.
    It’s a crying shame that ordinances have to be put in place to protect citizens that just want peace and quiet, but in my case they are a must in order to control inconsiderate neighbors who have no respect for others need of quietness.
    People who work 3rd shift need protection from “neighbors” who want to set off clamorous explosions around homes while sleeping….Midnight to 9AM ordinance is not enough!

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