Marco grapples with paying for July 4 fireworks display

Fireworks from 'Uncle Sam's Sand Jam' July 4, 2010, at Resident's Beach on Marco Island. Photo by Glenn Walton

Fireworks from "Uncle Sam's Sand Jam" July 4, 2010, at Resident's Beach on Marco Island. Photo by Glenn Walton

Fireworks from 'Uncle Sam's Sand Jam' July 4, 2010, at Resident's Beach on Marco Island. Photo by Glenn Walton

Fireworks from "Uncle Sam's Sand Jam" July 4, 2010, at Resident's Beach on Marco Island. Photo by Glenn Walton

Come July 4, Marco Island will have a fireworks display over the Gulf of Mexico. In the meantime, though, the effort to pay for the production continues.

The approximately $40,000 cost for the Independence Day fireworks has been funded through a combination of public and private money, said City Manager Dr. Jim Riviere during the City Council’s Budget Subcommittee meeting on June 2.

“It’s a $40,000 event. We had a $12,000 in-kind contribution from Johnson Brothers, and we raised $16,000,” said Riviere. Johnson Bros., the contractor working on the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge, is providing the barge from which the fireworks will be launched.

The deficit, indicated Riviere, would come out of the parks and recreation budget.

At the request of Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk, the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter to its members, asking for donations.

“These are hard times for business,” said the letter, over the signature of chamber Executive Director Sandi Riedemann. “While it is difficult to ask you to contribute at this time, there is a strong reason to make Independence Day a special day on our Island. It is not only a celebration; it is an excellent source of business.”

Visitors come to the Island for the fireworks, and spend money at local businesses, said the letter.

In person, Riedemann emphasized the point.

“I think everyone should step up to the plate. We get a lot of phone calls asking if we’re having fireworks,” she said. “If a time comes when we don’t have them, I’m afraid they’ll go someplace else. It brings a lot of people to the Island.”

Milk said that the two largest hotels on the Island had contributed to the cause, with the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort chipping in $2,500, and the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort, $1,000.

Mac Chaudhry, Hilton general manager, said his hotel had also donated a resort package valued at $500.

Councilman Bill Trotter said the hotels could do more, and pointed out “that’s the most profitable Marriott in the world.”

Riviere expressed uneasiness with the idea of the city hitting up businesses for contributions.

“I hope this is the last year we do it,” he said, referring to the solicitations. “I don’t want to see regulators asking for donations from the regulatees.”

On Wednesday, Councilman Jerry Gibson said he thought the Fourth of July was an appropriate expenditure of municipal funds.

“I’ve always felt fireworks should be paid for out of the general fund,” he said. “There are certain things we as a city should do, and provide a celebration on Independence Day is one of those. If the city wants to do fundraising, all well and good. Businesses, those who directly benefit, should help defray the cost through voluntary donations, they key word being voluntary. ”

Milk said the shortfall in funding, which had been pegged at $2,000, is actually $7,000.

“We are currently about $7,000 short. In the next 20 to 25 days, I feel confident we can reach our goal,” he said. “I think we can make our mark without any problem, but time is of the essence.”

Milk said Hideaway Country Club had donated $1,000, and the Island Country Club pledged a donation as well. (The amount was not known at press time).

The show will go on, said Milk. “We have sent a check to the vendor. We have committed to this.”

The celebration is scheduled for July 4, a little after sunset. The barge launching the fireworks will be anchored off the south end of Residents’ Beach, about 1,000 feet off the shore.

Donations can be made to the City of Marco Island Fireworks Display, and send or deliver it to Mackle Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, Florida 34145. For more information call 389-3903.

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Comments » 16

u2cane writes:

Councilman Bill Trotter said the hotels could do more, and pointed out “that’s the most profitable Marriott in the world.”

Must have gotten a sweetheart of a deal from the city if they are! How about they pay more taxes?

dc5799 writes:

Bryan says these are hard times/// Not hard enough if he wants a 6 million dollar community center.

happy34145 writes:

How much will the committee cost us that the council will commission to find the most cost effective way to have fireworks on the 4th.....

donkeydrone writes:

Cancel it once, it won't happen again.

ajm3s writes:

"Riviere expressed uneasiness with the idea of the city hitting up businesses for contributions."

Dr. Riviere could you please express an uneasiness with the idea of hitting up the citizens for expansion of services and city facilities.

marcofriend writes:

in response to ajm3s:

"Riviere expressed uneasiness with the idea of the city hitting up businesses for contributions."

Dr. Riviere could you please express an uneasiness with the idea of hitting up the citizens for expansion of services and city facilities.

and you sir have hit the nail on the head......
The City is bankrupting its own revenue source (its taxpayers) with the $250 million Water/Waste Water Plant and just follow the quiet sideline meetings that are going on so that the $8 million Community Center at Mackle Park becomes a reality.
This City is taking me under and I thought these were going to be my "golden" years.

marco826 writes:

Mr. Trotter, The Marriott is a big target for you. Your remark is a cheap shot. Did you forget the Marriott is the biggest employer on the island. That it brings thousands of guests to Marco every year who contribute mightily to our economy here on Marco. That the Hotel engages in many charitable events all year long and that the hotel has spent hundreds of Millions to make their property one of the most beautiful anywhere. Mr Trotter, you should put up the money personally for the fireworks. PS: I do not work for the Marriott.

captnjimbo writes:

Are we in austerity or not?

What is it about we don't have enough money that is so hard to understand?

If it is so good for business then why does not business fund it and then take credit for providing.

u2cane writes:

in response to TheCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is the problem this country faces, people who believe they are entitled to things that are luxury items. What happened to working hard for what you want?

marco826 writes:

Too many people think they are entitled. Therein lies the problem. People need more humility in their lives.

explorerjrh writes:

One would think that with all the wealth that has been accumulated in the bankers and hedge fund managers pockets that they might step and share the wealth that they 'earned'(?) over the last 11 years. (Oops, sorry, I know they say they are suffering and we need to pay them more and bail out their 'too big to fail' ponzi schemes). Alas, giving back to a community is not in their code of conduct, just taking from others by way of their definition of 'earnings'.

BTW, its is easy for elected and appointed people (public as well as corporate) to buy 'necessary' things when it's OPM (other people's money).

GREED, gotta love their self rightous attitude. What goes around comes around.

naples_rocket writes:

I'm sorry, but there is nothing wrong with feeling entitled to the July 4th fireworks!!! JC, we are not THAT broke!

Callison writes:

I am an outsider (I live in Naples) but would love to move to Marco. I've gone to the Comedy show, many many Marco Island Restaurants and supported much of your local business. Probably the only thing that keeps me from moving there is the grumpiness, small town politics and lack of vision that I see on your island. In my opinion your businesses get a bad deal. Mr Trotter missed the mark. Why would you penalize the biggest employer on the island in the worst of times.

ajm3s writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

I'm sorry, but there is nothing wrong with feeling entitled to the July 4th fireworks!!! JC, we are not THAT broke!

It depends on the definition of "we".

If we means individual citizens sending a check, well the funding fell short,

If we means businesses sending a check, that some claim would reap "profits", well the funding fell short,

So if the city supplements the "deficit" well then all the taxpayers should be given a "raincheck" for those that chose not to attend or those not there to attend.

I love the fourth of July, and in the spirit of Independence Day, can we celebrate our independence which includes government support for every event that is looking for a hand out. Especially when the hand out came up short from independent sources from individuals and corporations and non-profit institutions.

marco826 writes:

Councilman Bill Trotter should be voted out of office for his comment designed to squeeze our Hotels. Specifically the Marriott. In my opinion that comment alone proves he is incompetent to represent Marco Island.

Aviaconsul writes:

Well done Marco! Go ahead and spend. In a few years there will be no Independance day to celibrate. Marco might be owned by an Oil Shiek or a chinese Tycoon. "In Shah Allah"

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