SIOUX CITY | Sioux City residents now have two fewer days to shoot fireworks to celebrate the new year and eight fewer surrounding Independence Day, according to a change to the city's fireworks ordinance finalized Monday.
The City Council voted 5-0 on the final two readings of an ordinance amendment that will limit fireworks discharge to 1 to 11 p.m. July 3 and 4 and from 1 p.m. Dec. 31 to 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1. The change will go into effect in time for the upcoming New Year's holiday.
Monday's vote followed several noise complaints received by council members during the 10-day window for discharge allowed in June and July, which led them to consider shortening the window to two days.
Sioux City had first instituted its fireworks ordinance earlier this year after the state legalized fireworks sales and discharge during certain times of the year. The state allows residents to discharge fireworks 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 1 through July 8, with an extension to 11 p.m. on July 4. The same rules are in effect from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3, with an extension to 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1. Local governments can shorten the dates and times for discharge but not the sale.
Sioux City had originally allowed discharge during afternoon and evening hours from June 25 to July 4 and Dec. 30 to Jan. 1.
Only one member of the public spoke Monday, suggesting a five- to seven-day window would be more reasonable. Council members said they feel that two days are adequate.
"I was contacted by a couple people, and more than anything everyone overwhelmingly said please do not extend the time," said Councilman Alex Watters.
Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said she feels the new dates strike a "happy balance."
In other action Monday, the council approved development agreements for three historic renovation projects planned by the Omaha-based firm J. Development.
The agreements will provide about $2.5 million in city assistance for the approximately $35 million in renovations at the former Hatch Furniture Building, Commerce Building and former Methodist Hospital. The buildings will turn into mixed-use buildings that will include commercial space and more than 170 apartment units. The city expects to recoup its expenses in eight years.
Julie Stavneak, a principal with J. Development, told the council the federal Historic Tax Credit -- which the J. Development projects plan on using -- no longer looks to be in jeopardy in Congress's tax reform bill. She said details released Friday of the bill to be voted on by the House and Senate maintains the 20 percent credit, although it will now be paid out over five years, rather than the current entire sum.
Earlier this year, she had said that credit's absence would be detrimental to the projects.
"We feel like we're in a great place," she said.
Siouxland Paramedics agreement
The council also voted 4-1, with Mayor Bob Scott dissenting, on terms of separation with Siouxland Paramedics Inc., the nonprofit ambulance service that has long provided emergency services within the city limits.
SPI, citing financial difficulties, will cease to provide such services on Jan. 1. Under the terms of its separation, Sioux City will allow SPI to keep one of the current ambulances, with the remaining eight ambulances and accompanying equipment reverting to the city.
Sioux City has staffed a brand-new 27-employee EMS Division within Sioux City Fire Rescue that will take over 911 services within city limits on Jan. 1.