KEARNEY — What question do Kearney residents ask most about city code?
This time of year, with the Fourth of July approaching, the most often-asked question is: “How late in the night can people shoot off fireworks?”
According to Municode — the city of Kearney’s new, easy-to-use search engine — exploding and setting off fireworks is legal from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 28 to July 2.
On July 3-4, legal hours to shoot off fireworks are from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Thanks to Municode, the answers to frequently asked questions and thousands of other queries about Kearney’s municipal ordinances are just a few mouse clicks away.
“Searching city code has become easier now,” said Deputy City Clerk Peggy Eynetich.
According to City Clerk Lauren Brandt, the most frequently asked questions after fireworks are about police codes and building regulations.
Before the city installed Municode, staffers at City Hall might be asked several times a day for help with questions about city code.
What types of signs are allowed in business districts?
What hours can package stores sell alcohol?
How does the city’s sales tax work?
Can I keep chickens in my backyard?
Putting all of those laws and rules at citizens’ fingertips wasn’t easy, said Brandt, who was the leader on the Municode conversion.
After Municode was selected as the vendor, the city staff began preparing for the transition.
“Our prior city code was stored in Laserfische, which was not user friendly,” Brandt said.
Reams and reams of laws had to be transferred from the city’s old system to the updated Municode system.
That process took about two years, but it was worth the effort to give Kearney citizens easier access to the laws that govern so many aspects of their lives, Brandt said.
She said users don’t need to be sitting in front of a computer to use Municode. It allows citizens to easily extract information from city code in the form of email, print and/or Word documents. Citizens can search and view city code on any smartphone or tablet anywhere at any time, Brandt said.
Eynetich said if users get stuck or don’t see results from their keyword, they can call the clerk’s office at 308-233-3216 for assistance.
“If they need more specific information or are having a problem, we can definitely direct them to where they can get their answers,” she said.