4th of July Event Could Be Scaled Back
Township working to get commitee 'revitalized and re-energized and going again.'
It may be months away, but the fate of the 4th of July Committee and the annual celebration the group organizes has remained on at least some minds since two of the committee's leaders resigned last year.
"At this time, it is our intent to move forward with the fireworks," Mayor Tim Braden told the township committee and public on Jan. 15 when questioned by John Rosellini about the status of the committee.
In October, several members resigned from the 4th of July Committee, including the chairperson and vice chairperson. The remaining committee members asked Township Administrator Victor Canning to go back to the township committee and find out how much money the township would be contributing to this year's event.
At the Jan. 15 meeting, township committee members voted on a resolution to designate events that are township-sponsored and township-endorsed. The four-day Independence Day Celebration was labeled as a township event, although committee members discussed how it is somewhat both.
"This is technically a hybrid of a township event and a township-endorsed event," Committeeman Scott Gallopo said.
Township-endorsed events, as listed in the resolution, include the Towaco Jazz Festival, Michelle Fund Softball Tournament, UNICO San Gennaro Carnival and others. When an event is township-endorsed, up to eight hours of DPW and police assistance is made available. In the case of the Independence Day Celebration, the township has paid for DPW and police assistance beyond the eight hours but the majority of funding used to pay for the event is raised by the 4th of July Committee.
"It comes under the category of public celebration and it doesn't fit exactly into one of the holes that we have here," Braden said.
Rosellini was concerned that the celebration itself may be in jeopardy with the resignation of members. He said the event has grown to be something enjoyed by the community and "to see it die again is unfortunate." Braden said that the township is working to "reconstruct" the committee, but that he could not say for certain that the group would be restored in time "to pull off a full-blown celebration."
Still, Braden said the township is intending to move forward with the fireworks and he is hopeful that once the committee is brought together, the members will be able to create an enjoyable event.
"Your comments are noted and correct," he told Rosellini. "And I think that will be part of the discussion about getting this thing revitalized and re-energized and going again."