There’s a growing debate in Wallingford over the future of the town’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display and who should pay for it.
Since 2010, a small group of residents working under the name “the Wallingford Fireworks Fund,” has raised the money to pay for the celebration after funding for it was removed from the mayor’s budget during the recession. The display and associated costs ring in around $30,000 to $35,000 annually.
Officials from the fund said that because Wallingford’s general fund has grown by several million dollars and the town has been able to pay down debt, it’s time for the town to begin paying for the celebration again.
Town councilor Jason Zandri, who is also a member of the fireworks fund, said there’s more than enough money to cover the costs.
“This is something that clearly the citizens want to have. Wallingford can clearly afford it and this is simply the right thing to do,” he said.
As it stands, money to pay for the celebration has not been set aside in the town budget.
Residents and people who have attended the celebration in years past had mixed opinions about who should foot the bill this July Fourth.
“It’s a great thing. It’s not a necessity. I’d rather pay for things that are really necessary,” Kathy Perretta said.
“It’s a big community thing. If they have the money than why not?” said Patty Murray, a former Wallingford resident who now lives in New Canaan.
“If they want them and everybody around here seems to go,” James Whitelaw, of Wallingford, said.
Members of the fireworks fund said they have no plans to raise the money again this year.
Right now it’s up to the town council to vote to return the money to the budget or Wallingford residents might have to head to another town for fireworks this year.