Rolling Meadows' Fourth of July parade will need to find new financial backing after city officials decided this week to pull their nearly $17,000 contribution to the annual event.
City aldermen said they could no longer afford to finance the parade as they work to cut spending from the city budget and lower a projected double-digit increase in its property tax levy.
The city will not be canceling the parade, but withdrawing the monetary support might have the same effect. The city, officials said, is the event's primary sponsor.
At the city council's committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, aldermen
discussed choices from completely eliminating the parade to creating a more aggressive campaign to boost participation in an event that many said has shrunk over the past few years.
"I've been involved with the parade for 20 years. I remember years when the high school parking lot was so full of floats and bands and participants," said Alderman John D'Astice.
Alderman Larry Buske said that besides city officials, participation from others has dwindled as residents have headed to neighboring suburbs for Fourth of July events.
The parade is organized by the Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce, which does not provide direct funding for the event. The chamber's executive director, Linda Liles Ballantine, was not available for comment Wednesday.
Even if the parade is canceled, the city's Fourth of July fireworks will go on without changes, officials said.
Several aldermen voiced support for the parade, but were unsure if the city could afford it during such a difficult budget year. Estimates for the tax levy increase as of Tuesday were between a 13 to 15 percent increase over last year. Other city fees have gone up this year in an effort to balance the budget.
"If other groups want to come out and support it, great," Mayor Tom Rooney said. "We've never been totally in charge of the parade, we've just been the biggest money source."