By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — The Versailles Village Council met Wednesday to discuss House Bill 127 and employment within the village.
The recently enacted Ohio House Bill 172 would allow individuals to discharge, ignite, or explode fireworks on private property on certain days of the year: New Years, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth, July 3, 4, and 5, and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following, Labor Day weekend, Diwali, and New Year’s Eve.
However, the enacted bill also provides municipalities to allow, amend, or prohibit the use of consumer grade fireworks.
“I think if we look at the village as a whole, there might be a handful of properties within corporation limits that could safely do this without causing any damage to a neighboring house or anything like that,” Fire Chief Brian Pearson said.
He explained to the council how the chance of a firework going up and coming back down on the ignitee’s property is slim. With the properties in town being close together and the open flame some fireworks have, the allowance of fireworks within the village limits poses a threat to the area.
“The floating candle thing is what concerns me the most,” Pearson said. “I mean you do have an active flame that is going to burn whether that thing flies, comes down early, what have ya, and there is a pretty good fuel source there to last a while.”
“I’m also worried about trying to convince people to have common sense. The next thing you know, it’s 11 o’clock, it’s 11:30, it’s midnight, I mean they just keep going,” Mayor Jeff Subler said.
He said it will affect how people sleep, animals, and says opening firework ordinances to anything is going to get out of hand as ever year the firework displays will become more.
The council discussed how other countries have already opted out of HB 127, and Council Member Cory Griesdorn stated he feels it has no business being in town unless it is professionally done by a licensed company. The council continued the discussion by stating there are ample opportunities to go and see fireworks at Ansonia, Cottonwood, New Madison, and so forth.
“I just don’t see any benefit to having the allowance versus having professionals like we did at the Bicentennial,” Mayor Subler said. “I don’t see a lot of advantages, but I see a lot of disadvantages.”
The final ruling for HB 127 does not go into effect until July 1, but regardless of the outcome, the Versailles Village Council approved a motion to draw up legislation to be put into place in order to continue the no firework policy in the Village of Versailles. The legislation will be brought up at the next meeting.
The council moved on to approve the appointment of Caden Hamilton to a utility craftsman position for a six month probationary period. Hamilton is a 2022 Versailles High School graduate.
“We interviewed him the other day, and he is interested in coming to work for the village,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. “I think he would be a good fit.”
The utility craftsman position will allow Hamilton to get into the door to learn what those in the village do to see if they want to make it a long term career. The position will have him bouncing around to help out with various projects by reading meters, mowing grass, and filling in wherever they are needed.
“It’ll let him get a feel for what he wants to do, get training, and hopefully move into a higher position,” Busse said.
The council also approved the retirement/resignation of Ron Kremer effective July 7. Kremer has been a 19-year employee for the village.
“I hate to see him go, but he is of retirement age,” Busse said. “I don’t blame him for that. It’s a great thing for him.”
The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, June 8, 2021, at 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].