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updated: 4/11/2014 1:44 PM

Island Lake sets budget for fireworks at $17,700

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Despite ongoing concerns about the village's finances, Island Lake officials have agreed to spend up to $17,700 on a fireworks show this summer.

Trustees approved the amount Thursday with a 4-2 vote. The sum equals the cost of the 2013 summertime fireworks show.

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Most of the cost of last year's fireworks show, which was held in late July over the town's namesake lake, was covered by community donations, officials said during Thursday night's discussion. The village was on the hook for about $4,500 of the total.

This year's show is set for July 26 as part of Island LakeFest. A pyrotechnics company hasn't yet been hired.

Village officials again are seeking contributions to cover the cost of the show. At Thursday's meeting, Trustee Mark Beeson jotted down the names of residents who pledged donations.

The annual fireworks show has been a source of some local controversy in recent years.

In 2011, some village officials questioned if the town had enough money to pay for the show. It didn't -- and private fundraising was needed to cover the cost, as well as donations from then-Mayor Debbie Herrmann and a trustee.

The 2012 show cost an estimated $16,100, and again fundraising was needed to cover part of the tab.

At the start of Thursday night's board meeting, resident Ted Kipp said it's fiscally irresponsible for the village to underwrite the fireworks show. He suggested putting a referendum on a future ballot to see if residents want to shoulder the cost of the display.

"I don't want to see my tax money go up in flames," Kipp said.

When it came time for a vote, Trustees Thea Morris and Shannon Fox opposed the expenditure. Neither wanted taxpayer funds spent on the show.

Island Lake has been struggling financially for a while. Last year, an auditor discovered a $389,000 shortfall in the village's police pension fund.

In 2011, trustees squabbled over whether $300,000 should be taken from a special water fund to pay mounting bills. They eventually approved the transfer.

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