Should Marco Island Farmer’s Market money be used for fireworks?

Fireworks are launched from the Johnson Bros. barge, borrowed from the Jolley Bridge construction work. Marco Island celebrated Independence Day with beach picnics and fireworks at Residents' Beach on July 4th, with happy throngs enjoying perfect weather. Lance Shearer/Special to the Eagle

Photo by LANCE SHEARER

Fireworks are launched from the Johnson Bros. barge, borrowed from the Jolley Bridge construction work. Marco Island celebrated Independence Day with beach picnics and fireworks at Residents' Beach on July 4th, with happy throngs enjoying perfect weather. Lance Shearer/Special to the Eagle

— Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition. But over the last few years, paying for the illuminating display has been harder and harder for Marco Island city leaders. Now, members of the island’s Planning Board hope they have a solution.

Members voted unanimously on Friday to urge City Council to consider using proceeds from the seasonal Farmer’s Market to finance the annual fireworks.

The market has been a profitable endeavor for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The weekly gathering brought in a $65,000 profit and that number is expected to increase next year.

“It’s an ideal vehicle for raising sufficient funds to pay for the fireworks and still have an ample amount in reserves,” said Planning Board member Monte Lazarus, who credited Ken Honecker, chairman of the Utility Advisory Board (UAB) for the idea. Lazarus had considered suggesting a small assessment, such as $2 per household, to fund the annual pyrotechnic show, and idea that did not go over well with residents in the audience who spoke out against it. Some said they believe more tourists take advantage of the fireworks show than residents.

“Instead of putting the burden on homeowners who are already taxed to their ears, the Marriott has 700 rooms, let them pay for it,” said Larry Sacher of the Marco Island Homeowners Association. Sacher stated that with home values going down on the island, residents would rather see city proceeds being used to reduce city costs.

But board member Irv Povlow argued that businesses bring in tax dollars to the island and provide valuable service to residents and tourists alike.

“To put the burden on the businesses is somewhat unfair, too,” Povlow said. “There are a lot of good people who come from all over the country and the world that weekend.

“It’s a tough situation when you have to struggle to raise money,” he added.

Amadeo Petricca , a UAB member, said he believed City Council is considering using Farmers Market proceeds to reduce the debt on Veteran’s Park.

Ultimately, it will be up to city council to decide how to spend the profits.

“I believe the 4th of July is more than picnics and kids,” Lazarus commented to his fellow board members. “The significance should be important to all of us.”

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Comments » 7

marco826 writes:

Ut Oh! Sounds like higher rents for Vendors next...

GFonda writes:

Use the Farmer's Market profit to reduce Veteran's Park debt

BLUMENTHAL writes:

Idea is okay, BUT...seems to me that there are much more important places that money can be used. If fireworks are desireable I think we should begin a major fund raising effort to pay for the fun event. Otherwise, please spend that money more judiciously.

gladesgator writes:

Fireworks are not that interesting and if people want them so bad let the ones who want the show to contribute. It sounds like a waste money to come from city coffers paid by the taxpayers.

dc5799 writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree good post.

ilikemarco writes:

The rent money should go to the general fund.
The 4th of July celebration should be paid for by contributions and the city should participate.

ajm3s writes:

Use the money to expand the size of the closet that is used at the Community Center to store equipment. The 60K funding is more than adequate to fund this expansion.

In a related vain, to fund and expand the Community Center to 28K ft2 is again, based on a design that is rife with the standard design approach deemed: "ask for the most and see what we can get". So we start at 40K ft2 now to 28k ft2.

So lets address the immediate needs with this money in P&R, and use the funds to enlarge the facility to expand the storage closet instead of a capital plan to pursue a field of dreams. In which a new Community Center is now to address every citizens' need (from bouncing a basketball in an air conditioned gym to having a class in gourmet cooking); essentially an a-la-carte approach to a Community Center proposal, which is a very expensive approach to designing a facility.

Capital plans always tend to be larger than needed in this town, i.e. waste treatment facility. Although, the waste treatment facility capacity may reflect the exponential growth of bull that has been spewed since the birth of city-hood and spread upon its citizens by illustrious "utility experts" and city managers eager to promote expansion at any cost. All for the betterment of this island. I see a pattern, and the beneficiary is not the citizen, but rather some other player, that generally has long left the scene or of such special interest it serves to benefit few at the expense of all.

Remember, the new Community Center began with a sales pitch that it is only $38/yr (based on 500k real estate assessment). How about, you support the center with yearly membership fees? How many supporters would join? For a culinary class? Or other......

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