Pasco city officials are reassuring residents they have no intention to "silence" ice cream trucks this summer after Seattle TV personality Ken Schram called the city out in an editorial criticizing enforcement of Pasco's noise ordinance.
Schram, a commentator for KOMO TV, gave the city a "Schrammie" this week for reportedly putting the "tinkling, melodious, 'can't-get-those-songs-out-of-my-head' tunes played by the ice cream man" under attack.
The editorial was picked up by blogs and news outlets throughout the state, but Pasco officials said in a written response to Schram that he got it wrong.
"It is not the city's intention to 'silence' ice cream trucks, rather, to enforce the law equally toward all sources of noise in the city," the letter stated.
The letter also notes that the city has received a number of complaints from residents about the volume of music being played by ice cream trucks.
Nothing in the city's noise ordinance -- or the way it is enforced -- prevents ice cream vendors from playing music up to the volume limit, which city officials said is loud enough to be heard throughout neighborhoods.
And the ordinance is nothing new, Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel told the Herald.
"We are just reminding (vendors) that the noise ordinance is the noise ordinance regardless of the activity engaged in," Strebel said.
The city isn't singling out ice cream trucks, and has sent a memo about the noise ordinance to all types of mobile vendors licensed to operate in Pasco, he said.
The police department will assist any vendor with checking equipment to make sure it's in compliance, Strebel added.
A note about the noise ordinance appears on the city's homepage at pasco-wa.gov.
"With warmer weather and summer fun soon to be here, the city of Pasco and the Pasco Police Department would like to remind you that there is a $250 fine for noise ordinance violations. In a citizens survey, noise was cited as one of the top five concerns of Pasco residents," the note stated.
Strebel said that is the same penalty that would apply to a loud car stereo or a boombox blaring music outside.
The conversation about ice cream vendors started at a recent city council meeting during which Mayor Matt Watkins said he had heard from some residents about the noise.