The city of Elgin once again will join the Northwest Fourth-Fest Fourth of July fireworks event in Hoffman Estates, but it also will form a committee to look into bringing back the fireworks to Elgin next year.
The city council voted 6-3 on Wednesday night to approve contributing $15,000 in cash plus $5,000 in personnel to the Hoffman Estates event.
That's the same amount the city contributed last year, officials said. Councilmen Terry Gavin, John Prigge and Toby Shaw cast the dissenting votes.
City Manager Sean Stegall said fire and police department staffing in Elgin during Fourth of July won't be affected by lending resources to Hoffman Estates.
Councilwoman Anna Moeller said she hopes parking arrangements for Northwest Fourth-Fest this year won't be as problematic as last year, when residents had many complaints.
Elgin residents are free to attend Northwest Fourth-Fest whether Elgin contributes financially or not, Councilman Terry Gavin pointed out.
"This event is going on with or without our money, and we're certainly not as wealthy a community as Hoffman Estates," he said.
Hoffman Estates lost about $100,000 after last year's event, Mayor David Kaptain pointed out. Kaptain also said he doesn't like the idea of piggybacking on someone else's celebration.
"For me to go over there and not pay ..., it's not something I'm particularly proud of," he said.
Elgin residents also can go watch fireworks in other communities such as St. Charles, Shaw pointed out.
Prigge said Hoffman Estates is treating Elgin like an advertiser, not a partner. Prigge said he would have been in favor of giving $15,000 directly to the fireworks company that handles Northwest Fourth-Fest.
Kaptain said he asked Shaw to head Elgin's fireworks committee, which should bring its recommendation to the city council within 90 to 120 days.
The fireworks need to be part of discussions about the 2014 budget, he said.
In the past, Elgin failed to find sponsors for its fireworks celebration, which cost about $65,000, Kaptain said.
"In five years there was not one viable response," he said.