POSTED: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:12pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 1:07pm
Socorro, TX (KTSM) — Residents of Socorro may celebrate the 4th of July with beer and burgers. But one thing missing from the festivities this year will be the grand finale at the end of the night.
At a city council meeting Thursday evening, council members voted to ban fireworks, concerned about safety during this dry summer.
"It's a shame. It's a tradition to fire the fireworks on the 4th of July. I believe it's going to be there from generation to generation," said Juan Castañeda, a long-time resident of Socorro.
City council member Mary Garcia was furious about the decision -- so furious, she walked out of the meeting because she said the City Manager had already approved fireworks for Socorro.
"All of a sudden, we're pulling the rug from under these people, which is an injustice," she said.
Garcia argued the City of Socorro will lose some $50,000 this year from the sale of firework permits. More importantly, she's concerned about the impact it will have on vendors and families, who depend on the income from fireworks sales, not just for profit, but for fundraising efforts, as well.
"These are people who cannot afford to lose the money they've invested in their inventory. And to do this to them in the 11th hour, it's unconscionable," she said.
Firework sales in Socorro were supposed to begin later this month and last about 10 days. Residents say this year's 4th of July festivities won't be the same.
"The 4th of July is the 4th of July. It is one of the greatest days in our country and I am proud to be an American citizen," said Castañeda.
The City of Socorro isn't the only community banning fireworks. They are also prohibited in El Paso, and restrictions are in effect in most of Doña Ana County.