Fireworks in doubt for New Year’s

by Crystal Gottfried

If weather conditions persist as they have for the last two weeks, or if the governor issues a drought declaration for Comal County, commissioners say they may renew a ban on the transportation, sale and use of fireworks in the county over the New Year’s holiday.

At the Dec. 7 court session, commissioners approved a request by Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford to ban the sale and use of certain fireworks such as rockets with sticks and missiles with fins.

Manford told the court that the combination of extremely dry weather, dried grass and brush, and careless actions of adults and children setting off fireworks could be too risky and dangerous this holiday season.

“Look at the label on the side of this rocket; it reads, ‘Warning, this product is flammable,’” Manford told commissioners. “The missile with fins says it’s flammable. too. With the dry conditions all over the county, I think it’s just too risky having people setting off fireworks that could cause a fire at someone else’s expense.”

Manford also said that banning the sale of rockets and missiles is really just a “band-aid” approach to the problem.

“Sparklers are still available to anyone, and when they are burning, they get just as hot as any rocket or missile, and can cause fires,” he said.

Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said that he was keeping the county’s options open for the next few weeks leading up to the traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations that generally involve setting off fireworks.

“Depending on the amount of rainfall that we get over the next couple of weeks, I’m not willing to chance it with fireworks,” he said. “Just like last year, the county judge has the power to put a fireworks ban in place in the county.”

The county has posted the partial fireworks ban, Order No. 147, on their website at

In other actions at the Dec. 7 court session, Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth reviewed improvements to the Rural Recycling Plan.

The new plans are expected to be put into place by mid-January 2007 and involve routing traffic into and from the recycling complex, a new fee structure for dropping off recyclables, new hours of operations and a new, wireless credit card machine so county residents can “charge it.”

The recycling center will also be open earlier so people can drop off their recycling materials on their way to work and on Saturdays to accommodate more people who are normally at work on weekdays.

Hornseth also told commissioners that a postcard notification system had drastically reduced the amount of trash that was being dumped at the closed gates of the recycling centers around the county.

“When we could determine who had dumped the trash at the recycling center gates, we sent a post card to those folks telling them not to do that,” he said. “Once we let them know the rules about how to use the recycling center, people were very understanding.”

Commissioners approved the improvements as presented. New information and a fact sheet will be posted on the County Engineers website after the first of the year.

Hornseth said that the recycling center on Texas Hwy 46 still gets plenty of slightly used packing boxes from moving companies that are not recycled. The folded boxes are redistributed free to county residents who need them; just ask.

Commissioners approved two four-way stop signs on Bat Cave Road within the city limits of Garden Ridge after considering pictures of the intersections, taken by the County Engineer’s office that showed the problems that motorists have when pulling onto Bat Cave Road from two subdivisions: Wild Wind Park and Forest Waters.

Mayor Pro Tem Russ Sanders said that Mayor Jay Feibelman and city council members had concerns about the signage slowing the traffic at the two intersections which are very close to one another, but commissioners approved placing the four-way stop signs at both intersections as long as the county was responsible for that portion of the roadway.

Precinct #2 Commissioner Jay Millikin said that he had been talking with the Garden Ridge mayor and city council to have the city take over the maintenance of the entire length of Bat Cave Road including the county’s portion within their city limits. At that point, commissioners agreed, the stop signs can come down and Garden Ridge can deal with the traffic on Bat Cave Road however they choose.
In Commissioner Jack Dawson’s Precinct #1, placing regulatory signs throughout the Lakeview Park subdivision at Canyon Lake was approved.

“This subdivision was built over thirty years ago and little or no signage went in,” said Dawson. “Today, new subdivision developers are required to place traffic regulatory signs within the development at their own expense.”

After a short public hearing, commissioners voted to approve an order regarding Mission Economic Development Corporation Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds Series 2006 issued by Waste Management, Inc. for their project funding at Comal County’s solid waste landfill. Lee McCormick explained the process to commissioners.

“We are holding a public hearing today, and seeking the approval of all fourteen counties, to enable Waste Management, Inc. to get the tax exempt status it needs to work on a gas collection project,” said McCormick. “Although we have no expansion plans for Comal County’s landfill at this time, as the landfill decomposes, Waste Management collects the gas that is produced and uses it to power a generator.”

The next regular session of Commissioners Court will be Dec. 14 at 8:15 a.m. in New Braunfels.



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