Wheeler approves fireworks possession permits

By LeAnn R. Ralph

WHEELER —  Customers who want to purchase fireworks in Wheeler will now have to pay a $2 fireworks possession permit fee.

The Wheeler Village Board approved the fireworks possession permit at the August 13 meeting.

William Utphall, owner of B&B Fireworks in Wheeler, suggested the idea for a possession permit.

The permit will allow people to take fireworks out of the village but people still cannot shoot off fireworks in the village, noted James Carter, village president.

Utphall will pay for printing the permit forms, and at the end of the season, he will pay $2 for every permit sold in the village, Carter said.

Marlene Larson, village trustee, wondered if the possession permits addressed a safety concern so that village officials would know where the fireworks are going.

Linda Crosby, village trustee, wondered why Wheeler has not had a fireworks possession permit prior to this.

“Many municipalities are doing it,” Utphall said.

The permits generate revenue for the municipality without any expense for the municipality, he said.

If other communities are generating revenue through the permits, then Wheeler can, too, and the money could be put toward something like playground maintenance, Utphall said.

Last year, B&B Fireworks handled a total of 400 transactions, he said.

So far this year, with Labor Day weekend still several weeks away, B&B has had 700 transactions, Utphall noted.

“I thought it would be a good way for the village to generate some revenue,” he said.

State statutes exempt the village from any liability for issuing a permit, and when purchasers buy fireworks and sign the permit paperwork, they also release the village from any liability, Utphall said.

Baldwin has been issuing fireworks possession permits for 15 years, and if there were problems with it, “Baldwin would not be doing it,” he said.

The Wheeler Village Board unanimously approved a motion to implement fireworks possession permits in the village.

In other business, the Wheeler Village Board learned that the third annual KayJay 5K – 1 mile run/walk will be held Saturday, September 21, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the race starting at 10 a.m.