By Sterling McGinn

A new ordinance will now regulate consumer fireworks usage within the village limits of Newberry. The decision to adopt the ordinance was made at the May 18 meeting of the Newberry Village Council. The board met in-person, and via Zoom at the DPW building on Charles Road.

The new ordinance will regulate times and dates where residents can use fireworks. Specific dates include: New Years Eve, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.

The ordinance also states that no person may ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks on any public property including, but not limited to any streets, alleys or right of ways. School and church properties, or the property of another person without the owner’s permission, are also excluded.

Violators can face a maximum fine of $1,000. Trustee Kip Cameron asked who would enforce the ordinance if there were a problem.

“If there is a violation, we can call the sheriff’s department,” said village manager Allison Watkins. “If it’s a violation of the ordinance, there is a $1,000 fine and half of that money goes to the law enforcement agency that helped enforce the policy.”

Following the discussion on the matter, the board unanimously approved the adoption of the ordinance.

A large portion of the meeting involved an hour-long closed session with village attorneys regarding the ongoing arbitration with former village manger Jennifer James-Mesloh.

Following the board’s return to regular session, the council voted to accept the arbitration settlement. No details have been released to date, and the News will continue to cover the story.

In other business, the board discussed establishing a process for reporting and reimbursements for claims from resident sewer issues.

The infrastructure committee recommended that the three recent sewer claims be submitted to the village insurance company for official determination. “What the insurance determines is what we will go with—whether that’s payment, or not payment.” Watkins said. The board voted to submit the three claims to the insurance company.

“We felt that it would be the easiest way to handle the situation, and there would be less controversy,” explained trustee Dennis Hendrickson.

The council also discussed how to handle future sewer issue claims. The infrastructure committee also recommended that all future claims be brought to the insurance company for review. The council voted to accept the recommendation.

The board is also drafting a perform work request document and an incident damage or injury report.

“For whatever reason, the village has not had an official permitting process for doing work in the village,” Watkins explained. “This is not at all to restrict what is going on…It’s so we know what’s going on, and people are informing us. We will have the ability to explain the process and explain our policies.”

Other business that evening included the payment of the village and Water and Light bills, reports from village officers and management, and an update on the ongoing Worthington generator inspections.