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updated: 4/9/2014 1:58 PM

Lake Zurich trustee concerned about spending on 'big party' fireworks

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  • Jeffrey Halen

      Jeffrey Halen

 
 

Lake Zurich village board members have authorized spending $26,000 for a company to produce a Fourth of July fireworks show -- an expense that one trustee contended may not be affordable.

Village board trustees Monday night voted 4-1 in favor of the contract with Five Alarm Fireworks Co. of Tinley Park. Five Alarm will shoot the pyrotechnics from a barge on Lake Zurich for the 30-minute show.

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Boaters and spectators on land at Paulus Park and lakefront properties will be able to view the fireworks.

Trustee Jeffrey Halen was the elected official who objected to the $26,000 deal with Five Alarm, saying he supports special events but it's questionable whether village government can afford the fireworks show expense. He said the actual cost of the fireworks show will be at least $55,000 when village employee expenses and other variables are factored in.

Halen added the fireworks cost may not be appropriate in light of the village considering whether to enact a utility tax.

"We're under some tight budget constraints," he said. "While it may not be the most popular thing ... is this the proper time to be moving forward with the Fourth of July fireworks?"

Recreation Manager Dave Peterson said the $26,000 for Five Alarm will come from the village's hotel-motel tax fund. Lake Zurich's tentative 2014-15 budget, which starts May 1, projects hotel-motel tax revenue of more than $97,000, bringing the special fund to $375,116.

Halen said fireworks may not be the best use of the hotel-motel tax proceeds.

"To me, this is ... something we should be saving for tourism -- equivalent to a college fund that a parent may be saving for their child -- and we're using it for a big party instead," Halen said.

Lake Zurich officials in February sent documents to 13 Chicago-area fireworks companies seeking proposals for the Fourth of July show. Five Alarm was the only company that responded to the village's request.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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