An item not on the agenda sparked discussion from Scott County supervisors during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
County Administrator Mahesh Sharma asked supervisors for their thoughts on an ordinance regulating the legal use of fireworks throughout Scott County. Sharma told supervisors the county and cities of Davenport and Bettendorf are in the process of reviewing the number of 911 calls and hours dedicated to law enforcement response to emergencies and nuisance complaints over the July 4th weekend.
Sharma said structural damage and injuries were reported.
“Residents complained their neighborhoods were like a war zone,” he said.
“I got the war-zone comments,” Supervisor Tony Knobbe said. “My fear is that regulating the lighting of fireworks won’t have much effect while it’s still legal to buy them.”
Cities and counties cannot prohibit the sale of fireworks from June 1-July 8 and Dec. 10-Jan. 3 under a bill signed into law by former Gov. Terry Branstad this year. But city and county officials can limit the use of fireworks during the legal sale window or totally ban the use of fireworks.
Board Chair Carol Earnhardt suggested a public awareness campaign coordinated by local law enforcement and the media prior to the next sale window starting in December.
“Some communities in Iowa tried to restrict sales,” she said. “We can’t do that. But we can restrict the time.”
Supervisor Ken Beck recommended due diligence to make any ordinance as practical as possible to enforce.
“We can increase fines if we do by chance catch somebody violating the ordinance,” Beck said.
In other business, supervisors agreed to include a staff recommended personnel change at the county jail and an hourly rate increase for mental health services provided to Juvenile Detention Center detainees and jail inmates by Genesis Psychology Associates on Thursday’s regular meeting agenda.
The vacant full-time bailiff position will be eliminated in favor of two part-time bailiff positions scheduled during morning and afternoon peak duty hours. Community Services Director Lori Elam told supervisors the hourly rate charged by Genesis Psychology Associates has not changed in four years. The rate will increase from $200 to $230 per hour under the terms of the new contract.