Budget cuts dim the fireworks in many NJ towns
Does your municipality have a fireworks display planned for the Fourth of July holiday weekend?
During the financial downturn a few years back, many New Jersey towns were struggling to close budget gaps and were forced to cut back on things like firework displays.
While conditions have improved, some things are not completely back to normal.
Michael Darcy, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said towns are turning more to promotional sponsors — when they can find them — to help pay for these events.
Darcy pointed out you may also see shorter celebrations and exhibitions than in the past.
“They may not be quite as grand or a large or as long in duration as you would have seen 10 years ago, 15 years ago. People make adjustments and that becomes the new normal,” he said. “Your all-day July 4 picnic on the community green has turned into a half day picnic. Your 45-minute or hour fireworks display maybe has been reduced to half an hour.”
He stressed “there’s a lot of adjustments that happen over time, but I think the important thing is that the communities still have the opportunity to get together and share these important holidays throughout the year.”
Darcy believes taking this approach makes sense.
“When the community is together, the businesses in that community want to share that goodwill. One of the ways they can do that is by helping sponsor these community-wide events,” he said. “Businesses can gain appropriate credit for their part in the community that way, and residents gain by having that opportunity to get together, so it really works well.”
He noted the cost for sponsoring fireworks and other celebrations can range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“There’s no such thing anymore as the typical town and typically fireworks companies will accommodate the budgets of local municipalities by adjusting the duration of the display, and the types of things included within the display,” he said.