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posted: 9/25/2012 10:52 AM

Roselle launches campaign to save fireworks

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Roselle officials have announced a new campaign to raise money for the village's annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

The campaign, dubbed "Get a Bang for Your Buck," aims to raise $25,000 to cover the cost of a fireworks display for 2013.

Village trustees voted to create the campaign earlier this month, with all supporting the measure except Trustee Kory Atkinson.

Village President Gayle Smolinski said the idea had been brewing for a while due to resident feedback. She said many residents were disappointed when the village canceled its fireworks display this year due to a budget shortfall.

"A number of us board members received suggestions either in personal conversations or, in my case, email," Smolinski said. "Many people said 'If I would have known or realized I would have been happy to contribute.'"

At the Sept. 10 meeting where the fundraiser was launched, former Trustee Joe Devlin gave Smolinski a check for $100 as the first contribution.

Roselle has been facing a budget shortfall for several years, which officials say is due to flat property tax revenues and late reimbursements from the state. Officials have taken several measures to curb spending and generate revenue in recent years, including layoffs, consolidating Roselle's 911 dispatch center, and hiring a consultant to try and bring more business to the village.

The village did not have money for fireworks in 2010 or 2011, either, and officials canceled the display. But both years, community groups such as the Roselle Chamber of Commerce and many local businesses came to the rescue with donations, saving the displays.

This year, however, the village could not secure a sponsor.

Roselle officials said they hope to raise the full amount before July 4 and established two fundraising goals: $15,000 by March 15 to secure a fireworks vendor, and $25,000 by June 26 for the final fireworks contract.

If the $15,000 goal is not met by March 15, the fireworks display will be canceled and the funds will be used toward a 2014 fireworks donation campaign. And if subsequent fundraising goals are not met for the 2014 fireworks, the display will be canceled and collected funds will be used to form a special events commission charged with planning special events in Roselle, such as the National Night Out Against Crime.

But Smolinski said she hopes all goals are met for next summer.

"We do want to give it a fair shot," she said.

If the fundraiser exceeds $25,000 for next summer, 10 percent of the overage will be put toward a 2014 fireworks campaign, and the remaining funds will be used toward the special events commission.

Donations are being accepted in person, by mail and online. Donors can visit to make a credit card payment (convenience charges apply), to download a coupon to be included with check or cash donations, and to track campaign donation progress.

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