OUR VIEW: Burn ban debacle could have been dealt with betterSometimes it’s the darndest things that cause the biggest controversies.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Sometimes it’s the darndest things that cause the biggest controversies.
Tuesday, it was the burning of the “M” and a fireworks show. If you thought Mitchell High School homecoming rituals were the most unlikely thing in the world to spark a protracted debate at not one but two public meetings, think again.
It began Tuesday morning with the Davison County Commission, which voted unanimously to make no exceptions to the county ban on open burning. The ban was enacted in July, and Tuesday the county was anticipating requests such as the burning of the “M,” scheduled after coronation Sept. 24, and the fireworks show, scheduled after the football game Sept. 28. The commissioners decided a ban is a ban, and it’s best to avoid exemptions.
Then came the Mitchell City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Though everybody who spoke at the meeting acknowledged they hadn’t researched the issue fully and couldn’t speak with any authority, it was generally thought that the city’s ordinances related to open burning supercede the county’s burn ban. So, a committee of the City Council voted 4-1 (with Mel Olson casting the “no” vote) to approve the application for the homecoming fireworks show, regardless of the county burn ban. Meanwhile, the city’s own application for the fireworks show explicitly states that if a Davison County burn ban is in place, no fireworks show will be allowed.
Wednesday, The Daily Republic did some of the research that the public officials neglected and ascertained that, indeed, the city apparently is not bound by the county burn ban.
So it appears things will work out. The burning of the “M” and the fireworks show will presumably happen as planned.
But we’re still a little disappointed with the county officials for not knowing who their own burn ban applies to, with the city officials for being so eager to debate and rush into a vote on something they obviously hadn’t researched sufficiently, and with both sides for the lack of communication that led to such comically contrasting actions.
Neither side can get the time back that it spent needlessly arguing about this issue, but perhaps the debate can be avoided the next time.