Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Organizer: City fireworks show increasing in cost

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/24/2013

The cost of putting on the City of Ottawa’s annual fireworks display continues to skyrocket, organizers said Monday.

Rex Carswell, who supervises the shooting of Ottawa’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, told Ottawa city commissioners he had spent $4,800 on fireworks for this year’s show — up $100 from the $4,700 spent in 2012.

The cost of putting on the City of Ottawa’s annual fireworks display continues to skyrocket, organizers said Monday.

Rex Carswell, who supervises the shooting of Ottawa’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, told Ottawa city commissioners he had spent $4,800 on fireworks for this year’s show — up $100 from the $4,700 spent in 2012.

“The city has given us $2,300 the last several years, but I would like to request $2,800 for 2014, because costs are increasing,” Carswell said.

Carswell asked the commission to consider funding the show at $2,750 in 2013. While commissioners in July 2012 allocated $450 less than what Carswell requested for this year’s show, they have not yet established the budget for 2014.

The city’s annual fireworks show is set for dusk on the Fourth of July at Forest Park in Ottawa.

Other such organizations as Ottawa Main Street Association, Prairie Paws Animal Shelter and Franklin County Development Council made pitches to the commission for their 2014 budget allocations at Monday’s meeting. The commission took each request under advisement.

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 said he tries to stretch the dollars as far as possible when making purchases for the annual display.

“The $4,800 cost includes the cost of the liability insurance,” Carswell said.

Carswell, who is licensed to shoot fireworks and supervise the show, said organizers had not tried to contact other civic groups about sponsoring the show. The Ottawa Jaycees organization, which is no longer operational, used to sponsor the annual display.

If the city has been providing $2,300 for the show each year, Mike Skidmore, city commissioner, asked Carswell who is picking up the other roughly 50 to 60 percent of the cost.

“About half of the donations are from businesses” and other private individuals, Carswell said. “And [the organizers] spend some of their own money on the show.”

Carswell, for example, has built 24 racks to hold the mortars, he said.

“The racks help us be more efficient when it’s time for the finale,” when the firing volume escalates, he said.

Carswell thanked the commission for its annual support of the community show.

“Unfortunately, the cost of fireworks is increasing just like everything else,” he said. “So we anticipate our costs increasing in 2014.”

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