Friday, November 28, 2014

Cost of show rising with fireworks

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/23/2014

The cost of putting on Ottawa’s annual fireworks display is expected to skyrocket in 2015, Rex Carswell said Monday.

Carswell, who supervises the shooting of Ottawa’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, told Ottawa city commissioners this year’s show would cost about $4,800. And fireworks companies have indicated prices are going to increase 10 to 20 percent in the future, he said.

The cost of putting on Ottawa’s annual fireworks display is expected to skyrocket in 2015, Rex Carswell said Monday.

Carswell, who supervises the shooting of Ottawa’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, told Ottawa city commissioners this year’s show would cost about $4,800. And fireworks companies have indicated prices are going to increase 10 to 20 percent in the future, he said.

“The city has given us $2,300 for probably the last five years, but I would like to request $2,800 for next year’s fireworks show because of the increasing cost [of the fireworks],” Carswell said.

Ottawa city commissioners are in the midst of planning the 2015 budget, which includes hearing budget requests from each entity that receives funds from the city. Commissioners aren’t yet taking action on each request, but will consider the requests when they drill deeper into the numbers later in the budgeting process to come up with the final budget.

The city’s annual fireworks show is set for dusk on the Fourth of July at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa.

More than half of the funds for this year’s show, about $2,500, are being raised through donations from businesses and individuals, Carswell said. The Ottawa Jaycees organization, which is no longer operational, used to sponsor the annual display.

Carswell, who has been supervising the show since 1995, told commissioners the $4,800 he spent this year included a 15-percent discount for buying the fireworks early in February. He also has stretched the dollars further by cutting down on the number of more expensive multi-shot devices — commonly referred to as cakes — that are used in the show,

“Usually, the cakes are used in the finale,” Carswell said. “It’s a box with a bunch of tubes. You light one fuse and they all go up. It’s a way to get a lot more [fireworks] up in the air in a short space of time.”

The city also saves the expense of hiring an outside contractor, Carswell, who is licensed to shoot fireworks, said.

“You’re saving a lot by not having to have a fireworks company come in to set it up, shoot it and tear it down,” Carswell said.

Linda Reed, Ottawa mayor, said she greatly appreciates the work Carswell and his team do to put on the show each year.

The city’s fireworks display is as good or better than communities that spend considerably more on their shows, Richard Nienstedt, city manager, said.

“They do a heck of a job for under $5,000, and I’ve been in a community where they spent $10,000 on fireworks and this is as good as that [show],” Nienstedt said.

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