Many NJ Towns Ask For Donations To Pay For Fourth Of July Fireworks [AUDIO]
Is the town where you live holding a big fireworks display on the 4th of July this year?
In these tough economic times, chances are the answer is no.
Bill Dressel, the Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says many communities can no longer afford to have lavish 4th of July fireworks celebrations.
"Every line item in the municipal budget is under critical scrutiny at this particular point…They're scrubbing their budgets to make sure that every cost that is absolutely an essential cost that can go to provide quality of life services goes there," he explained.
Dressel says, "With the proliferation of property tax appeals, and other state mandated and imposed costs that are beyond the 2 ½ percent, towns are really scrubbing their budgets, they're doing what they can to economize, and things like the 4th of July parade may have to be sacrificed."
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He also points out, "Some towns are working with their business communities to be able to establish public-private partnerships to collect donations, while others are turning to their patriotic committee, working through the American Legion, working with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts in trying to provide a fundraiser if you will…We're seeing great examples of community spirit, of folks getting together to be able to provide a celebration- and chip in if they have to - either private sector, or through donations to a non-profit."
Dressel adds some towns have made the conscious decision that they will not be able to afford not only the 4th of July celebrations, "but also community celebrations, and they may even have to do without Christmas decorations during the holidays."
He says, "Local officials have got to establish priorities, and the priorities are we've got to be able to focus in on providing quality of life services, picking up the trash…And some things like an appropriation on the municipal budget for the 4th of July parade - that might have to fall to the side…For these celebrations, there's a tremendous amount of cost other than the fireworks themselves, and many municipalities simply don't have the money."