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Donations needed for ‘14 fireworks [UPDATED]

Published 9:17am Thursday, October 31, 2013 Updated 2:20pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

The city of Fergus Falls is accepting donations for a 2014 Fourth of July fireworks display, though it’s still uncertain how much money the city will contribute to the efforts.

Fireworks were an item of discussion Wednesday morning at the Finance, Personnel and Development committee meeting, first with a brief history of how the city contributed to fireworks in the past.

The city of Fergus Falls paid for fireworks through 2002.

“And then because of budget cuts in 2003 and 2004, we didn’t have fireworks,” said Bill Sonmor, the city’s finance director.

Fundraisers got going for fireworks in 2005, and the city contributed $1,500 from its liquor store profits toward the $11,000 total that year. The fireworks displays for 2006 ($11,000), 2007 ($22,000) and 2008 ($18,500) were all through fundraising efforts; the city didn’t contribute any money. Fundraising started again in 2009 but fizzled out and money was refunded.

Fergus Falls hasn’t had fireworks displays for the Fourth of July from 2009-13.

The Affinity Plus branch in Fergus Falls is heading up efforts to raise money for fireworks next year. It’s held a couple fundraising events so far so that fireworks can return to the city of Fergus Falls in 2014. The goal is to bring in $15,000.

Anyone interested in making a donation or helping with fundraising efforts can contact Affinity Plus Branch Manager Nick Mariotti at 739-6072.

Finance committee member Anthony Hicks suggested looking at the city contributing matching funds for the 2014 display.

“The question is, how do we move it from this to where we would like it to go,” Hicks said. “Something to celebrate Fourth of July would be good for us to do.”

Ben Schierer agreed and added that the city contributing $1,500-$2,500 would be appropriate.

The consensus wasn’t 100 percent, however. Randy Synstelien said he’s “probably a little less inclined” to have the city make a matching contribution.

“I do view the fireworks as one of those non-critical functions of the city,” Synstelien said. “For those that want to donate, I think that’s a very admirable thing to do.”

No decisions have been made about what the city may or may not donate to the fireworks fund. However, City Administrator Mark Sievert suggested the fundraising group attend a committee meeting in January to see where they are in terms of money. Then the item could be placed in front of the city council at a February meeting to discuss funds.

The committee approved a recommendation to accept donations for the fireworks fund for 2014.

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