Fireworks are allowed within the Granite Shoals city limits on New Year’s Eve, the police department reminded residents Friday, Dec. 30. The department hopes to ward off calls about any celebrations, which can overload its communications system.
An ordinance approved by the City Council last year allows for fireworks to be set off within the city from 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, to 1 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Fireworks are not allowed within city limits without a permit except on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.
Other municipalities in Burnet and Llano counties do not allow the use of fireworks within city limits. People in the unincorporated areas of the two counties are allowed to sell and set off fireworks.
Granite Shoals city ordinance 814 was adopted in June 2021 and allows for the legal use of fireworks on designated holidays. Prior to this, all fireworks use was illegal and punishable by a citation. The city made the change because police and emergency dispatchers were swamped with calls on New Year’s Eve and Independence Day, taking resources away from higher-priority issues such as drunken driving and domestic disturbances, which spike during the holidays.
“People were going to (set off fireworks) anyway,” Granite Shoals Councilor Ron Munos told DailyTrib.com. “We were hoping that people would get their firework fix on these two days and hold off the rest of the year.”
After the council voted to change the ordinance, it collaborated with then-Police Chief Gary Boshears to get the word out.
“Since we’ve passed it, (the police have) had great success with these holidays,” Councilor Samantha Ortis said. “I think, for our police department, it has been a positive change.”
Both she and Munos both voted to approve the new fireworks policy, which can be changed again if residents ask for it, Ortis said.
Granite Shoals Police Capt. Chris Decker had some tips for those setting off fireworks on Saturday night.
“Just try to be considerate of your neighbors,” he said, adding that fireworks are sometimes more than an annoyance. The loud noise can negatively affect military veterans as well as children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Decker also suggested keeping pets indoors during the festivities as they often panic and escape when frightened by fireworks.