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Published: Wednesday, 4/29/2009

Sparks fly over fireworks' cost in Sylvania Township

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Township trustees' decision last month to allocate just $7,000 toward the cost of the Fourth of July fireworks at Centennial Terrace sparked verbal pyrotechnics from Sylvania city council last week.

Considering that the event actually takes place in the township, councilman Doug Haynam said during a council meeting last week, "It'd be nice to have their full participation in a cooperative effort.

"I'm uncomfortable with the concept of the citizens of Sylvania filling the gap in the cost" for the show if the township's financial contribution continues its retreat, Mr. Haynam said.

"Every year, they've paid less than we asked for," Council President Keith Haddad said.

Township trustees responded the problem's roots are in the informal way the show has been organized in past years, with the city essentially taking the lead and then sending Sylvania Township a bill.

"The cost of the show continually goes up. We have no input into the size, the style, the sponsors - none of that," trustee Deidre Liedel said.

"We need to revisit this and make more formal our joint effort" to put on the fireworks shows, including a formal determination of "who is responsible for what share" of the cost, trustee Carol Contrada said.

"There needs to be a meeting of the minds as to how we go forward, so we can continue to provide this wonderful event," Mrs. Contrada said. "We cannot operate on assumptions."

Mr. Haddad said later last week that representatives of the city, township, and Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District had tentatively scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to discuss the fireworks show.

Last year, the township paid $10,000 toward the fireworks' cost. Mr. Haddad said the show costs $27,500, with Coca-Cola paying $5,000 for a sponsorship and the city picking up the balance after having asked for $11,250 from the township.

The council president told his colleagues last week that he had requested bids from three firms to put on this year's show but had received no responses.

While Mr. Haddad said he had "some minor cost-saving ideas," he was reluctant to shorten the fireworks show or reduce its quality in order to lower the expense.



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