The Santa Maria City Council returned to in-person meetings Tuesday night.
During the pandemic, the council transitioned to virtual meetings as a safety precaution.
Community members were invited to take part in Tuesday’s council meeting where masks are recommended for those attending in person; however, the virtual option is still available.
One of the items on the agenda included a presentation by police and fire officials updating how things went over the 4th of July holiday pertaining to fireworks, enforcement and education.
Santa Maria police usually receive a large number of calls relating to illegal fireworks being set off in the days and weeks leading up to the holiday.
The city began an education campaign in June that included ads on the radio, TV, social media, City websites, buses and more.
“Every year I have to… drive out of town and pay for a hotel, pay for a rental car, pay for gas to get away from the fireworks here,” said resident Matthew Woody.
Mayor Alice Patino sympathized. “I think in the City of Santa Maria, we are going to continue to try to work with this, Mr. Woody. We realize what a problem it is and I sympathize with you. I mean, I’ve had to deal with this with an older person and it’s very, very difficult,” she said.
Officials reported 14 administrative citations were issued for $1,000 each in the City of Santa Maria.
Two criminal citations were issued to juveniles.
“A total of 50 pounds (including packaging) of illegal fireworks and multiple “launch tubes” were confiscated and booked in a secure container at Fire Station #1,” according to a staff report. The State Fire Marshal’s Office will reportedly be in charge of disposing of the devices.