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Longmont City Council to Consider Ensuring Fourth of July Fireworks Contract

February 8, 2019
Longmont Times-Call

Want to donate?

Anyone interested in donating to the fireworks fund can do so through the Skyline Longmont Kiwanis Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, by visiting tinyurl.com/y7jn9quf . Donations are tax-deductible.

Longmont could get a Fourth of July fireworks show this year after all — if city council agrees to put up $15,000 in city funds to ensure there is a contract in place soon with a vendor to produce the event.

Longmont’s Skyline Kiwanis Club and the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce are raising money to cover the cost of this year’s July 4 show, but that drive’s effort does not yet have the projected $32,000 needed to proceed with contracting with a vendor, according to city staff.

In November, council approved a $363.24 million budget for 2019 that did not include money the popular annual July 4 even t at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

For several years, Skyline Kiwanis Club donated funds to help the city pay for the show.

But in June, when Kiwanis members presented council a $12,000 check to offset part of the costs of the 2018 show, club representatives told council it might be Skyline’s final year of being the sole local organization raising funds to defray Longmont’s costs for the aerial fireworks display.

Skyline Kiwanis representatives indicated they would like to see other private and service organizations step up to help fund the 2019 show.

In August, city staff unveiled a 2019 budget proposal that included a number of cost-reduction measures, including the elimination of the fireworks show , a step staff said could save Longmont about $27,000 this year by not matching the annual private donation that previously helped underwrite the show.

Council did not second-guess dropping the fireworks show costs in the budget it officially adopted.

However, Mayor Brian Bagley in November said “we’re going to try to figure out” how to proceed with paying for putting on this year’s display, and City Manager Harold Dominguez said the city would be reaching out to other possible fireworks show sponsors.

If you go

What: Longmont City Council

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Civic Center council chambers, 350 Kimbark St.

Agenda: tinyurl.com/y8vn8axh

Skyline Kiwanis and the Chamber have since been raising money for a 2019 show, with a goal of collecting $45,000.

City staff in a memo for Tuesday’s council meeting said thus far, they have raised $17,000 toward the event, which the city said has a projected cost of at least $32,000.

However, “vendors who provide fireworks shows need a contract to hold the spot for the date of July 4,” staff wrote.

Longmont’s municipal code requires funds be appropriated prior to signing contracts such as the one for the fireworks show, so there is a need for the city to put up as much as $15,000 in what staff called “bridge money” — on top of the $17,000 in private donations raised so far — in order to secure a contract with a vendor for the show, even as private fundraising continues.

Staff suggested council could consider taking the $15,000 from a council contingency fund within the 2019 budget, an account that currently contains $60,000 in yet-to-be-spent money.

“This is a policy decision, but if the council does not allocate funds, no contract can be signed with the fireworks vendor,” staff wrote.

Assistant City Manager Sandi Seader in a Thursday email said Skyline Kiwanis and the Chamber would reimburse the city for its $15,000 “bridge” contribution if they raise that amount in the remaining months of their fund drive, but if they fall short, the council contingency would cover the difference.

Asked about why the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber have a $45,000 goal and city staff is estimating the show’s cost at $32,000, Seader said the $32,000 “is what is needed to have a small fireworks show, but the Kiwanis would like to have a bigger, longer show, hence the goal of $45,000.”

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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