TURNER — Selectmen and Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins sympathized with residents Monday night about fireworks disturbing their neighborhood.
Resident Joanne Buck said she called 911 about the excessive noise and was told: "'Your community has no ordinance on fireworks, and even if it did, we could not enforce it.'"
Buck said her cat is shellshocked.
"Now, you just sit on your porch at night waiting for the next blast," she said.
She said she tried to talk to the ones shooting the fireworks to say, "'Have a little respect for your neighbors.'"
Selectmen instructed Town Manager Scott LaFlamme to ask the shooters to warn the neighbors before setting off fireworks.
Desjardins said that the 911 dispatcher was right. He said that like the state police, his department cannot enforce local ordinances.
"As long as they comply with state law and do not shoot fireworks after 10 p.m. there is nothing I can do," he said.
Desjardins said he had the same problem with neighbors frightening his two cats and disturbing his family.
"As long as they quit before 10, all I can do is try to put earmuffs on my cats," he said.
Most complaints are coming from owners of livestock, according to the sheriff.
Resident Andre "Andy" Baillargeon asked selectmen to consider an ordinance limiting use of fireworks to selected holidays. He said he moved to Turner many years ago because it was a nice quiet town, and now the peace is being disturbed.
Angelo Terreri, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said, "We don't have many laws in town. Why should we pass laws you can't enforce?"
Baillargeon replied, "If there is a law people will be more careful."
Desjardins said by time the town pays the Code Enforcement Officer to bring the complaint and hires an attorney to prosecute it, the cost would be higher than the fine. "And that is if you win."
He said the District Attorney would not prosecute violations of town ordinances.
Also at Monday's board meeting, Desjardins gave a report on activity in town. His department, which alternates months with the state police in providing the with primary law enforcement coverage, responded to 30 accidents in Turner this year. The highest number were on Route 4. The department responded to 163 other incidents in Turner during that time, including burglaries that occur mostly during the day time when people are at work.
In other action, selectmen agreed to purchase fuel oil from Murray Oil Co. at $0.1955 above Murray's cost from the distributor. They also requested that the town manager to determine what it would cost to begin curbside waste pickup in Turner.