Funding problem may snuff Glenwood Springs’ July 4th fireworks show in question
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The city’s traditional Fourth of July fireworks display is in jeopardy, due to a potential lack of funding from the usual city budget sources.
But Glenwood Springs’ newly appointed mayor, Matt Steckler, said it’s a question he would like to see addressed by the new City Council soon.
“There are always options, but there is nothing to really say yes or no to at this point,” Steckler said.
“It is something that’s important to the businesses who rely on people being in town for that weekend, and I think we would be doing the city a disservice not to at least discuss how to fund that,” he said.
The annual fireworks display costs around $18,000 to put on every year. In recent years, the event has been contracted out to a professional vendor to stage at Two Rivers Park in conjunction with an evening Symphony in the Valley concert.
But, thus far at least, the fireworks is unfunded, city manager Jeff Hecksel said.
“Part of the difficulty is that we have had two sources for where that money comes from, and now we’re down to one,” Hecksel said.
The primary funding source in past years has been the city’s tourism fund, which comes from the 2.5 percent accommodations tax.
The majority of that money goes to fund marketing efforts for tourism promotion. Only if accommodations tax revenues surpass a certain amount is there any extra money for local events funding, Hecksel explained.
That hasn’t happened for the past two years, and so far this year it looks unlikely to happen again, he said.
That leaves the city’s discretionary grant funds, which are typically used for health and human service funding requests, Hecksel said. And those dollars are even more limited this year than they were last year.
“It is something we’re going to have to address through council,” Steckler said. “While it’s something that’s probably in the best interests of tourism, it’s not really a tourism board issue.”
The city’s Financial Advisory Board is charged with making recommendations for discretionary spending.
In addition to the fireworks, there are several annual events and ongoing programs that require annual funding which the FAB also needs to discuss, Steckler said.
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