The City of Winona has now implemented an ordinance to deter people from discharging firearms within city limits.
The board approved Tuesday night to set a fine of $500 to $1,000 for discharging a firearm. Board Attorney Adam Kirk said at a previous meeting that Chief Tommy Bibbs expressed concern that judges were able to set a minimum fine as low as $100 if someone was found guilty of the offense.
Kirk said the ordinance hadn’t been changed since 1998 and the fine was set then to between $100 and $1,000.
He said it was Bibbs’ recommendation that the city implement a more strict approach. Kirk said he wrote the ordinance to say up to $1,000 to press judges to make a decision.
“He didn’t think $100 is deterring anyone from doing it and it needed to be way more substantial,” Kirk said.
“I think it (the minimum) should be $500,” Alderman Mickey Austin said.
Kirk said he could add it in if that’s what board members wanted to do and the board voted unanimously to place a minimum fine on the ordinance.
The board is also looking into an ordinance for fireworks.
The state statute currently states: “No fireworks shall be sold or offered for sale at retail before the fifteenth day of June and after the fifth day of July and before the fifth day of December and after the second day of January of each year. No fireworks shall be sold to any person under the age of twelve (12) years. It shall be unlawful to ignite or discharge fireworks of any type within six hundred (600) feet of any church, hospital or school, or within seventy-five (75) feet of where fireworks are stored or offered for sale. It shall also be unlawful to ignite or discharge the same within or throw the same from or into or at any motor vehicle.”
The problem the city is having, however, is when people purchase fireworks and immediately use them causing a noise problem within city limits. The board wants to implement an ordinance that lines up the times fireworks are sold in the city limits to the time they can be used.
“We can’t change it this year,” Mayor Jerry Flowers said, adding that the board can think it over and discuss it.
“December 5 to December 24 is a long time,” Flowers said.
The board also heard from officials with Entergy Solutions, which conducted an audit on how much it would cost to convert the lighting at the fire department, police department, city hall and library to LED lighting. The city would receive a 70/30 match, meaning Entergy would cover 70 percent of the project’s costs and the city would have to cover 30 percent.
“It’ll be about two years to get all the benefits back,” Flowers said. The cost to the city was originally quoted at a little over $7,000 but City Clerk June Williams said that since the library is jointly-owned between the city and the county, the county would bear a portion of the cost for that facility.
“We could ask the county to pay part of the library’s cost,” she said, adding it would reduce the city’s cost to a little over $6,000.
“Have you done any other businesses in town?” Alderman David Ware asked.
Officials with Entergy said they have completed projects at HomeFront, D & K Cleaners, Fisackerly’s Auto Sales and B & S Tire.
“That’s where I saw them at,” Ware said. “When I saw the truck, they were at HomeFront. Now, it’s so bright in there, you have to wear sunglasses.”
The board also:
Accepted the resignation of Gwain Jefcoat from the Winona Fire Department and allowed Fire Chief Brad Mooneyham to advertise the position in the Winona Times. Flowers said this is Jefcoat’s “final hurrah.”
Approved officer Tracey Woods to work all days effective Dec. 14.
Approved to reimburse Capt. Calvin Young for purchasing brake pads for patrol vehicles. Flowers told Bibbs that the city is looking into grants to purchase vehicles for the department and have plans to apply for them every year.
Approved several water and sewer adjustments for residents in the city and tabled a request from Rebecca Welch to look into the situation further. Welch said she’s been charged for two garbage cans since 2016, but only has one can.
Approved to pay an invoice with Aces Animal Control for equipment.
Approved Mayor Jerry Flowers to sign a letter on behalf of the board supporting Marcy’s Law, a law in support of victim’s rights.
Heard an update about the library from Librarian Wendy Rushing.
Approved a water adjustment for Robert Young.