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Longmont 2019 Budget OK’d Sans Fireworks Display

November 14, 2018

A shell explodes during the 2018 Longmont fireworks display. City council on Tuesday approved the 2019 budget, which did not include funding for the annual show at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

Longmont City Council on Tuesday night approved ordinances setting a $363.24 million budget for next year but left the door open to at least one future change in the spending package.

As recommended by the staff in August, when it unveiled its suggestions for 2019 spending, the budget does not include funding for Longmont’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

During a Tuesday night public hearing on the budget ordinances, John Marlin, a Boxelder Drive resident, urged the council to restore city funding toward the show’s total cost.

Marlin said that in addition to being a longtime Longmont resident, he is a member of Skyline Kiwanis, a service club that for several years has annually raised money and donated it to defray the city’s costs of the show.

Last year Skyline Kiwanis’ contribution was $12,000 toward the estimated $34,750 cost of the 2018 show.

Skyline Kiwanis representatives told the council last June, however, that might be their last annual contribution toward the show and thought that other organizations and businesses should participate.

Mayor Brian Bagley told Marlin that his understanding is that “we’re going to try to figure out” how to proceed with paying for putting on a 2019 fireworks display.

City Manager Harold Dominguez at Tuesday’s meeting indicated at the city has been or will be reaching out to other possible fireworks show sponsors.

“We will give you enough warning” if that doesn’t result in some subsidy of the show’s cost and the staff proceeds with any plan to cancel the 2019 show, Dominguez told council.

Councilwoman Polly Christensen, however, said that while she personally loves the annual show, “things are very tight and we’re trying to save some money.”

Christensen cited the costs of police patrols for illegal fireworks incidents on and near July 4, as well as traffic control responsibilities as people drive to and from the official show.

“I think it would not be a terrible thing to take a break for a year,” she said.

For the time being, the 2019 budget council members unanimously approved Tuesday contains no funding for the show.

Next year’s appropriations for municipal services, programs, projects and payroll will be about 15 percent higher than the $315.23 million operating budget council originally adopted in October 2017 for the 2018 fiscal year.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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