LOVINGTON — If a firework goes in the air, you won’t find it for sale in Lovington.
Lovington City Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to ban firework sales for any fireworks not on the “safe and sane” list.
Area Supervisor of Sales for TNT Fireworks Spencer McMillen told the commission during the May 22 meeting he was having a hard time reconciling the city wanting to put a fire works ban into place when the city is currently is listed as a D2 (drought level 2). In prior years, when the city was listed as a D4, no fireworks bans were put into place.
Lovington Fire Chief Skip Moorhead said since he started as a fire marshal, he has always recommended a fire works ban.
McMillen pointed out there wasn’t a fireworks ban in place on July 4 last year, but Moorhead argued there was, but the commission did not renew the ban in time.
“I’ve heard ‘shop small and the city needs more money,’ well I pay a lot of taxes on the fireworks sales,” TNT Wholesaler Britney Easterwood said at the meeting.
Easterwood said people came to her fireworks tent last year, looking for fireworks that go in the air after the fireworks ban lapsed.
“I had to tell them I didn’t have any,” Easterwood said. “I had to tell them they could get them in the county or in Hobbs. That sent money out of Lovington.”
Easterwood and McMillen reiterated their inability to understand why a drought proclamation, and ban on fireworks, was happening while the city is only in a D2 classification.
Moorhead explained a D2 means severe drought, and said the city of Lovington is riding the line of D2 and D3 — D3 being a extreme drought.
“If any of the fireworks people want to volunteer during the two weeks people will be shooting off fireworks, and we are running around putting put this fire over here and that fire over there — with very limited personnel, we would love to have you,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead said by putting the proclamation in place now (May 22), the commission would be able to reevaluate the drought conditions at each meeting following, and always make a decision to resend the proclamation.
McMillen and Easterwood said by putting the proclamation in place this early, it effected the supplies available at local firework stands, and made it very difficult to get those fireworks that are currently banned on shelves in time for Independence Day if the commission were to resend the proclamation at a later date.
McMillen offered to schedule a time when Moorhead and the rest of the commission could meet with him, so he could show them the different fireworks, and set them off so they could see what each one does.
Moorhead said he used to do the fireworks displays for the city and is “more than aware” of what they do.
“I know what happens when an artillery shell falls over and shoots across the grass leaving a river of flame,” Moorhead said.
Commissioner David Trujillo said the commission has a responsibility to protect and serve the community. Trujillo said everything depends on the level of moisture the town receives.
“I don’t want to see someone’s house go up in flames,” Trujillo said.
The commission then took a roll call vote — with all voting “yes” to put the drought proclamation into place.
Commissioner Scott Boldt did not vote as he was absent from the meeting on May 22.