BEATRICE – After weeks of hashing around alternatives, a southeast Nebraska community finally has a new fireworks ordinance.

The Beatrice City Council, on a 6-1 vote, approved a six-day sales and use period around the Fourth of July holiday. The vote came after a last-minute attempt to reduce that to five days…which failed on a 2-5 vote. Councilman Duane Ruh pitched the alternative of June 30th to July 4th….saying some citizens he’s heard from wanted to go back to the former July 1st to 4th period.

"I don't think it should have been changed in the first place, because it was going fine, since 1989. I've still had people ask me about the first through the fourth, and I said I know that won't pass."

Councilman Gary Barnard, who chaired an ordinance committee that put forward the six-day period…said that was a compromise plan.  "You can probably find a hundred people with your idea....Tim, the same way....and all of us, in between. So, this is a compromise vote on the ordinance and I would encourage everyone to vote on it as we did before."

City officials heard from many of the same people….some who wanted a stricter limit….others, more time. Some were relying on petition signatures they collected in support of a specific alternative, or a Facebook poll on the issue. Mayor Bob Morgan says ultimately, it’s difficult to determine where the public at large stands on the issue. "On all surveys and on Facebook...all of those are unofficial, and are not statistically accurate. So, we probably don't want to use a lot of that reference, on either side."

Councilman Tim Fralin lobbied for the idea of a new fireworks ordinance on behalf of a constituent who runs an extensive fireworks business. He questioned the level of opposition to a change in the fireworks period.  "I want somebody to get one of these illegal petitions with 150 signatures on it...and bring it here. I want Halloween stuff up on the 25th to the 31st only. I only want to be able to sell Christmas presents from the 19th to the 25th. If that's what you guys are going to base your decision off of....that's just ridiculous. You've got a man trying to make money out's not like an individual. There's over 12,000're talking about 130 people. That's one percent....give me a break, I'm done."

Resident Dana Hydo, speaking to the mayor and council, perhaps stated the obvious. "People are passionate about this, right? What I can take from all of this is that there are people that really want ten days...and then there are people that really prefer we didn't have it at all, or maybe just on the Fourth. The law that you passed last year, didn't work. It just didn't. You got heard about it."

The operator of C-and-C Fireworks, Chris Cullison said the reason the city was having a full-blown discussion of fireworks was the mistake in adding July 5th this past year….an extra day of setting off fireworks.

Monday night was the third and final reading for the new fireworks ordinance….which sets June 29th through July 4th, as the period for sales and use. It carries a curfew of 10 p.m. from the 29th through the 2nd….. and midnight on the 3rd and 4th.