Plenty Fireworks Over The Subject Of Fireworks

As anticipated, the public and council comment sections of the Regular Council Meeting held on Tuesday, March 22nd were filled with much discussion centered on the public funding of the 4th of July Fireworks over Angle Lake. 

The meeting opened as usual providing an opportunity for the public to offer comments on the state of city affairs. An estimate of ten individuals spoke in favor of the city contributing public funds to cover a portion of the fireworks show, one individual spoke against using public funds to help finance the show citing that fireworks do not equal patriotism and in light of city personnel losing jobs due to budget cuts, this is simply considered an inappropriate use of tax payer dollars. At the point the meeting progressed to the approval of the $5,000 to $35,000 Purchase Requests, Council Member Rick Forschler requested again this year to move the line item for the Angle Lake 4th of July Fireworks show to unfinished business for further discussion.  
Community came together to offer their comments and opinions over the subject of Fireworks

During Unfinished Business, Council Member Forschler again cited that city government has certain obligations such as providing roads and public safety, however, financing fireworks is not an appropriate use of public funds.  CM Forschler suggested that a fireworks fundraising collection be organized or commercial sponsorship be sought out instead of using city funds and suggested that he would try to help in this effort. He recommitted his challenge to the other council members that he would pay a seventh of the requested $10,000 if the rest of the council members would pay in an equal portion, and if they failed to match the offer, he went one further by saying he was still willing to contribute a small portion as a private citizen, not as a representative of the city. 
Deputy Mayor Gene Fisher indicated that he was in favor of supporting the fireworks “one last time” respecting the earlier interests supporting a public fireworks venue when the fireworks ban was first implemented.  However, DM Fisher expressed frustration over not understanding why this comes up at the last minute each year and does not appear to come through the budget process (editors note: the Fireworks request has been included in each of the last four year Parks and Recreation Budget, however policy requires that it be reviewed and approved prior to being spent).  

Council Member Pam Fernald claimed that she cannot understand the reasoning behind the city financing fireworks when the city itself had decided fireworks within city limits to be illegal.  However, City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo cited that to the best of her recollection the Ordinance had been amended authorizing public displays by certified technicians under permit – additional research would be needed to confirm this.  It was then motioned that the vote over the firework expenditure be postponed to the next council meeting scheduled for April 12th.  

With this delay, I would expect a larger group from both sides of the issue to turn out in force to voice their opinion on the matter.  Whether city funds will be provided this year is still yet to be seen, however the fireworks show will still go on as hosted by the Angle Lake Shore Club.  It just may be a significantly smaller show unless we find an interested commercial sponsor(s).  Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.

1 comment:

Angle Lake Shore Club Blog said...

Additional Coverage and Public Comments are available for view on the Highline Times: