Forced monopoly or city government being proactive

Forced monopoly or city government being proactive

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - We're digging deeper into an ordinance concerning the sale of fireworks in the City of Florence.

The city council approved an amendment allowing only resident wholesalers to sell fireworks from permanent stands in the city. Despite concerns from the community, the ordinance passed 5 to 1 Tuesday night.

Community members said they are upset because none of the councilmen would explain why the changes were necessary.So we went straight to the mayor looking for answers.

"What the ordinance basically says is if you are a wholesaler and if you will come to our city and set up a wholesale shop, you maintain your wholesale license for five consecutive years than you can have a permanent retail location," said Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock, who sponsored the amendment.

As it stands, the city allows for five temporary stands twice a year during firework season.

"Those non-profits can buy their fireworks from any wholesaler, they're not restricted," said Haddock.

A process that has been seemingly successful in the past but Haddock said looking forward to the change is necessary.

"At some point in time obviously we're going to get asked about a permanent location for fireworks, we're not sure we want to do a permanent location for fireworks," explained Haddock. "We want to be cautious in who we allow to come."

Community member and District Five City Council candidate Chase Holcombe is one of many who sounded off on Facebook Tuesday night.

"This is a government enforced monopoly. This is wrong and absolutely immoral on the part of the city," Holcombe posted to Facebook.

"We are not blocking business to Florence, the only change is you have to have a wholesale license for five continuous years," said Haddock.

Haddock said the request to make the changes came while he was meeting with a group of people and said some representatives from TNT were in the room.

He said it was a collaborative request and didn't come from any one person or company.

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