City agrees to $20,000 for fireworks, Marco Islanders to raise the rest

At Monday's city council meeting, Joey Oliverio, left, with Keith Dameron, agrees to spearhead an effort to raise $20,000 from community donations for Fourth of July's fireworks. The city voted to provide an equal amount. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

At Monday's city council meeting, Joey Oliverio, left, with Keith Dameron, agrees to spearhead an effort to raise $20,000 from community donations for Fourth of July's fireworks. The city voted to provide an equal amount. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— The rockets red glare will fill the skies over Marco Island on July 4, 2012.

In a 6-1 decision by Marco Island City Council on Monday, the city agreed to fund 50 percent or $20,000 for next year’s Independence Day fireworks. Marco Island restaurateur Joey Oliverio, of Joey’s Pizza and Pasta House, agreed to head up a community organization to raise the rest. Councilor Chuck Kiester voted against the motion.

Last year’s fireworks cost $40,000, and the barge to launch them offshore and within view of Marco Island’s beachfront cost approximately $12,000 to rent.

Prior to the meeting, the Marco Island Planning Board sent a letter to city councilors asking them to consider using profits from the Farmers’ Market to fund the fireworks. On Monday, Monte Lazarus, a member of the board, forwarded that idea to council and added another. He suggested the city assess each property owner $2 to cover the cost.

Neither an assessment nor using revenues from the Farmers’ Market sat well with council.

Councilor Bill Trotter pointed out, since funds from the Farmers’ Market already go to the city, taking money out of its profits would equal taking it out of the general fund. Trotter was amenable to releasing city funds if a community group would raise the remainder.

He also felt that waiting until spring to make a decision left planners little time to sign a contract with a fireworks company or plan for the barge to launch them.

“I’ve been through this process seven times already and we wait until May and there is a hurry-up decision,” Trotter said. “Then council looks like Grinches at the 11th hour if we chose not to offer funds.”

Amedeo Petricca, a member of the Utilities Advisory Board, opposed any use of Farmers’ Market funds for fireworks. He pointed out the city owes $850,000 annually on the purchase of Veterans’ Community Park. All money from the Farmers’ Market should be used to defray payments, he said.

It was Dr. Faye Biles, speaking as a local resident, who suggested a community group could set the wheels in motion to help raise funds.

“I think people will bend over backwards to give the money if someone will just step up to lead the drive,” she said.

Oliverio came forward to accept the challenge.

“I’ve raised money for this event in the past. It draws a lot of revenue to the community. I hire college students in the summer and it helps pay for their schooling. If the city will match the funds, I’ll step up to the plate and chair a committee,” he said.

That was enough commitment for Council Vice Chairman Larry Magel to make the motion for the 50-50 split between the city and the community. Councilor Joe Batte seconded, and the motion was approved.

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Comments » 7

OldMarcoMan writes:

Who voted no ?

Throat_Yogurt writes:

How cheap is city council! F'n A
Good for Joe though, atleast someone cares

happy6 writes:

ol monte...he always has super ideas....another're nuts monte...go rub your awards.

RayPray writes:

Home owners get bent over by the Chamber of Commerce to lure unsuspecting riffraff to the island and gouge them for crappy viands.

by the way, glad to see that Keith was able to squeeze himself into Abbie Hoffman's old shirt.

ajm3s writes:

The city has agreed to spend the most monies to support the 4th of July celebrations that it does not host. If memory serves me well the city has agreed to increase spending over this years celebration by almost 100%. And this is what we call "patriotic".

I call it a fireworks tax. And it supplements private donations, to pay for a celebration that cannot be met from its own private citizens. So we compel the subjects (or is it citizens) to contribute for the celebration.

Taxes to pay for the celebration of independence by the city is not an act of patriotism , it is an act confirming that we are not independent. That we cannot independently reach into our own pockets to support and participate in a celebration. And John Adams quote:

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

From where I stand, the celebration was for the folks to support this celebration as independents, not to support this celebration as collective taxpayers.

It is a celebration of INDEPENDENCE, not the "patriotism" of taxes to pay for a celebration. They were simply establishing a day for celebration; and if history serves me well, it was against taxation without representation.

And again, the Council by its vote for using tax revenue has misinterpreted the meaning of the 4th of July.

Mr. Keister, thank you for understanding the meaning of patriotism: It is not an act of taxation.

liberator100 writes:

studubaker, show us how you salute...

Sparky1 writes:

Ask the local businesses to ask their customers if they want to contribute a dollar at the point of sale for the fireworks display. If no public monies are used then the complainers can stay home and write about how bad the water/sewer rates are, on that, we share the same view.

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