Sen. Benton misses half-price fireworks

At the June 5 meeting of the Board of Clark County Commissioners, the first person up to speak during the public comment period was State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries, with Chairman Marc Boldt thanking Benton for his work in Olympia, Benton got to his point: He wants the commissioners to reconsider a ban on the sale of fireworks on July 5.

In 2010, the county shortened its window on fireworks in unincorporated areas. Nothing could be sold or discharged on July 5. Sales had to end by 11 p.m. July 4, and use had to stop by midnight. (Cities have their own rules).

Benton said the code change became apparent to him last year, when he went to his favorite stand on July 5 to stock up on half-price fireworks for this year. He said he’s received a lot of questions about why the county no longer allows sales on July 5.

He urged the commissioners to think about low-income citizens who need a post-holiday bargain and the additional sales tax the county could receive.

As customary during public comment, commissioners didn’t give Benton an answer. Commissioner Tom Mielke said, “One thing I can tell is the Senator hasn’t talked to my friend Stephanie Turlay.” (Turlay, the wife of Vancouver City Councilor Bill Turlay, is the self-appointed head of the “ban the boom” movement).
“One thing about being here versus Olympia,” Mielke told Benton. “You’re a lot closer to the people.”

While the city of Vancouver is considering restricting what can be discharged, commissioners haven’t brought up the topic so it’s unlikely they will follow through with Benton’s suggestion to allow sales on July 5.

Watch the clip here by clicking on “public comment.”

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