Who would have thought a City Council conversation about pyrotechnics would produce some fireworks?
OK, we exaggerate a bit for the play on words, but it was a split City Council on Monday that reversed an earlier decision and decided that the July Fourth fireworks show, which was scheduled originally for July 3 but fell victim to a rainy forecast, will now light up the skies over Brooks Stadium at Lumberton High School on Aug. 30, which is a Saturday.
At last week’s Council Policy meeting, Councilman Leon Maynor’s was the only vote in favor of rescheduling the fireworks show, although it was clear that Mayor Raymond Pennington, who only votes to break ties, was also in favor. Five days later, however, six councilmen were in favor of rescheduling the show, with only Erich Hackney and Don Metzger voting against.
The council’s reversal was by popular demand as council members said constituents had called and complained that the show must go on. The decision not to reschedule had originally been based on two thoughts: That a lot of people would be out of town and unable to attend if it were held during the Labor Day weekend, so the turnout would be sparse, and the cost of putting on the show.
Councilman John “Big Wayne” Robinson pointed out, however, that his constituents aren’t “rich” and many would be spending the Labor Day weekend not on holiday but in town, and the fireworks show would be good entertainment. Other councilmen chimed in with a similar sentiment.
As far as cost, the city contractually was already obligated to pay the vendor $7,800 — half the cost of the total show. Now the city will pay the vendor the full $15,600 plus any other expenses for the show, including overtime for police officers. It is uncertain now how much of what was planned for the July 3 show will indeed be part of the Aug. 30 show, but every little bit will add to its cost.
Hackney made a good point while expressing his concern about the cost, which will surely surpass $20,000, pointing out that the city was just forced to raise property taxes for the budget that took effect July 1.
Regardless, it appears the show will go on, and we expect that it will be big and explosive as it always is and will be enjoyed by thousands of people, including a few that might be considered rich. It’s refreshing to see a local government body actually respond to the wishes of its constituents.