Sciarrone: End fireworks show in Island Lake until finances improve
Island Lake trustee candidate Tony Sciarrone favors stopping the town's annual fireworks show until after village officials "get our fiscal house in order."
Other candidates support the show, but some have concerns about its cost.
Six people are running for three seats on the village board. None are incumbents.
Sciarrone is part of the For the People slate. He's joined by trustee hopefuls Mark Beeson and Keith Johns.
Ed McGinty, Ken Nitz and Josh Rohde are the trustee candidates running as the United for Progress slate.
The candidates were asked about the fireworks show and other issues during endorsement interviews with the Daily Herald.
Typically held in the fall, the town's 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 Mayor Debbie Herrmann and Trustee Chuck Cermak.
Last year's show cost an estimated $16,100, and again fundraising was needed to cover part of the tab. The show planned for this fall will rely on fundraising events, too.
Sciarrone pointed to the costs associated with the show as the reason he believes it should be discontinued.
"It's not only the expense of the fireworks. But it's also the expense of the police department," said Sciarrone, a former Island Lake police officer who served as chief for a time. "We pull out extra personnel to do traffic control and also if anything arises as far as altercations or disputes, which usually happens when you're drinking during the summer."
Johns said he feels the show should continue if funding is available.
"I don't think the village should have to pay 100 percent of it," he said. "If that's the case, we have bigger issues than a fireworks show, and I think our residents would understand that."
If fundraising efforts can't successfully cover the cost of the show, Johns said, the fireworks should be discontinued "until we're back in the black."
Beeson said he loves the fireworks show, and he didn't mind if village hall partially subsidizes the cost of the event.
"I think a fair number might be 25 percent, but only when we're doing well," he said.
Nitz wants the fireworks show to continue and supported the fundraising efforts as a way to not use taxpayer money, if possible.
"It's a nice benefit for the people of the town," he said.
Still, if costs aren't being covered by donations, the size of the show could be reduced, Nitz said.
McGinty called the fireworks show "a showcase for our town" that attracts residents and people from other communities.
If donations aren't covering the cost of the show each year, more fundraising efforts should be implemented "without using any of the taxpayers' money," he said.
Rohde's a fan of the fireworks show, too. He praised Herrmann and the trustees for raising private money to pay for the event.
"However, the economy has taken a hit for everybody, and as a result it's hard to raise money," he said.
Rohde suggesting asking the village leaders in neighboring Wauconda to team up for a fireworks show to reduce costs.