Sidney amends noise ordinance, clarifies times for fireworks

SIDNEY, NE — A town in western Nebraska made a change to its noise ordinance Tuesday night. Sidney amended the rule to clarify when fireworks can and cannot be shot off.

The change allows fireworks to be shot from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25, to July 3. On Independence Day, people can celebrate from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. on July 5.

Violating the ordinance could result in a citation and a fine of up to $200.

Police chief Joe Aikens says this will make enforcement easier. He said in the past it was always a judgement call for officers whether or not to cite someone when responding to noise complaints because there was no defined time allowable for fireworks. 

"We get enough complaints from that [Tuesday] morning at the department head meeting, I had a couple department heads say they've heard people shooting them off already," Aikens said. "They're not even for sale yet. We haven't started getting any calls yet this year, but this will allow us to handle it better."

The amendment also adds an exemption for New Years celebrations. Residents are allowed to shoot fireworks from 5 p.m. on December 31, to 1 a.m. on January 1. People can also lawfully shoot off fireworks outside of these times if they obtain a permit from the city to do so. 

The changed ordinance will be in effect for this year. Under state law, fireworks can start being sold Thursday, June 24, for the Fourth of July. Local jurisdictions have the authority impose more restrictive measures, however.