One of four bids for this year's fireworks display at the Northwest Fourth Fest was $6,000 less than the others, but the Hoffman Estates village board agreed Monday to move the measure forward without recommending any of them.
Board members expressed concerns about the number of shells that each of the four bidders proposed to fire off at the festival.
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This July will mark the second year of the five-day event, which is held at the Sears Centre Arena and put on with the help of Elgin, Hanover Park and Hanover Township.
Elgin and Hoffman Estates contributed $15,000 each to the festival last year, while Hanover Park contributed $10,000 and Hanover Township contributed $5,000. "To my knowledge everybody's committed to at least what they've done in the past," Village Manager Jim Norris said. "We're going to formalize that in the near future."
Some residents complained last year about the length of the $43,500 fireworks show, which Norris said lasted 24 or 25 minutes, instead of the scheduled 30 minutes.
"We all know that some of them went off prematurely," he said of the fireworks.
He said this year's contract includes "quality control" items that specify the duration of the show, among other things.
Trustees Ray Kincaid and Gary Stanton questioned the village's Fourth of July Commission recommendation that the board award this year's contract to Melrose Pyrotechnics of Kingsbury, Ind., which is the same company that did the show last year.
"I've heard nothing but grief about (last year's show)," Kincaid said.
Norris said that Melrose submitted the lowest bid at $39,000. The other three companies -- Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions, New Horizon Pyrotechnics Inc. and Addy Pyrotechnics -- submitted bids at the budgeted $45,000.
"I understand that, except I just wanted a better show this year than last year," Stanton said.
Stanton pointed out that the number of shells Melrose would use throughout the whole show was 3,197 compared to the 4,290 proposed by New Horizon and the 5,430 proposed by Mad Bomber. He also noted that the bulk of Melrose's show was 2.5- to 3-inch shells. New Horizon would have the highest percentage of 4- to 6-inch shells.
Norris said that Melrose has a lot more shells in the "main show" section of the display than the other companies. But Stanton said Mad Bomber had the most in the finale, with 2,890 shells compared to the 685 shells Melrose would shoot off.
"We had CDs of all four of the vendors. New Horizon shot their shells off on water, and that was one of the reason most of us didn't vote for them," said Trustee Jackie Green, who serves as chairwoman of the Fourth of July Commission.
Norris added that the village will get the benefit of $2,500 in bonus shells if it awards the contract to Melrose for a third year.
Mills said she thought the village should use caution with New Horizon because she didn't know anything about the company, and the village had experience with Melrose.
"They may be coming up with a fantastic presentation on paper, but unless we have some great references I would be concerned about that," she said.