Supervisor Benczkowski’s statement on no fireworks

Portrait of Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. (Town Photo)
Portrait of Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. (Town Photo)

A perfect storm was brewing, and it was not just one factor that contributed to the fireworks situation, but a number of reasons that there will be no fireworks at Cheektowaga Town Park on July 4th this year.  First, the Patriotic Commission disbanded earlier this year leaving a vacuum of volunteers and with it all the past knowledge and experience associated with planning all the activities surrounding the 4th of July.  These celebrations require a large number of volunteers to help plan, organize and run this event and these resources have been drying up for many years. 

Secondly, the costs associated with facilitating the event have been continually rising due to extra staffing to manage and secure the event.  Add to this that many residents have been asking me to reduce spending.  Therefore, when a recommendation was made by the Budget Advisory Committee to reduce overtime by 5% across the board in all departments, the Town Board took action and did.  This included the Police and Parks Department.  I must also point out that we observed declining attendance every year with 2016 being the lowest.  Also, due to the fact that the Patriotic Commission would not be sponsoring a beer tent this year, it could be expected that attendance would be even lower.  No matter the crowd size or the limited number of events occurring that day, the same level of staffing is needed for security and the cost could not be justified if attendance would again shrink.  

Additionally, in years past many residents surrounding the park have come to the Town with serious security concerns.  These concerns have been increasing over the years, and combine that with current global events, the safety and security of all visitors and residents living around Town Park that night becomes a serious consideration for not having fireworks. 

All these factors combined can be attributed to not having fireworks this year, with no one reason playing a larger role than the other.  This does not prevent the Town from having fireworks in future years though as I have already had discussions on alternative and creative solutions for next year that may include the possible return of fireworks.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cheektowaga Chronicle or its parent company, Crabapple Media, LLC.

Related coverage:

Councilmembers: Overtime cuts snuff fuse on Cheektowaga fireworks
The reason for no fireworks in Cheektowaga this July

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