Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Independence Day Fireworks punted by the Great Recession

As the Great Recession drags on and on, more and more municipalities are being caught by the cash crunch. This year, a major casualty of shrinking budgets may be the traditional July 4th fireworks celebration. Towns all over are canceling or getting creative.

"It's becoming harder and harder to justify," she says of the $20,000 event. "The tax dollars only go so far, and it's one of those expendable items."

Other places such as Birmingham, Ala., may scale back the festivities as well unless they can attract more corporate sponsors. The Independence Day celebration in Moorestown, N.J., across the Delaware from Philadelphia, was canceled for the second year in a row. Monterey, Calif., suspended its Fourth of July festivities because of "budget constraints and ongoing safety concerns regarding the Fireworks Display," according to the city's website. Maplewood, Minn., Mayor Will Rossbach told the Pioneer-Press that it no longer made sense to pay about $19,000 for the town's 30-minute fireworks display while struggling to maintain more basic city services.

In another strategy, Morris Plains, N.J., saved its traditional July 4th fireworks display -- and some of its tight budget -- this year by holding it on Saturday, June 26, instead.

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