Update: I am told that De Soto’s fireworks are paid for by someone other than the city.
I hereby submit that cities in our fair county should not spend money putting on fireworks shows. The most updated cost information I can find is from 2010, but here is what some cities spent that year on professional fireworks shows on or around July 4th:
- Arnold – $15,000
- Festus/Crystal City – $20,000
- De Soto – $12,000
Other cities with fireworks this year were Herculaneum and Hillsboro.
Now, I grant that, in the grand scheme of local government spending, this isn’t a lot of money. However, every dollar counts, and I find them unnecessary. How many other, more important programs could use a couple thousand dollars? If people want their fireworks, local groups can be found to sponsor them, and some already do. In Arnold, there are two other organizations that have fireworks shows: The Meramec Elks Club (at the same time as the city show) and First Baptist Church (on June 30th this year). The Big River VFW offered fireworks in Cedar Hill last night.
I’m sure this suggestion would provoke an outcry in some circles. “Oh, but people love the fireworks!” I’m sure they do, but they would love a pony in every backyard, too, if it was free to them. Fireworks shows are something a city might put on to prove their “big boy” status. In a time when government budgets are supposedly tight almost everywhere, we need to make the easy cuts like this before we can even hope to make more controversial ones. Arnold’s three-year contract with Gateway Fireworks ends after this year, so now would be an opportune time for the city to end the practice.
Besides, fireworks are readily available and their use is little-regulated in our county (except in some cities, perhaps). People can (and do) get their own fireworks fix.