4th of July Event Overtime Costs: Who Should Pay?
Committee chairman feels township should pick up police, DPW costs for community event.
Many Montville residents spend much of the year looking forward to the three-day Independence Day celebration the township hosts and, according to the committee that hosts the event, will be able to look forward to it again next year. But one detail still has yet to be ironed out before that is guaranteed: who will pick up the tab for the police and Department of Public Works (DPW) overtime costs.
For many years, a group of volunteers have worked together with township employees under the umbrella of the Montville Township July 4th Committee to organize the events that make up the township's celebration of the Fourth of July. Irwin Paster, the committee chairman, said each year for the past 12 years has begun with an official sponsor, this year Lakeland Bank, donating $15,000 and then committee members fundraising to be able to cover the additional costs needed for carnival rides, fireworks and more.
Several Patch readers who attended this year's event questioned whether the celebration, or parts of it, would be canceled next year. Paster said they will not.
"I think we will have a big event [again] next year," he said.
Readers' concerns stem from what Paster described as an ongoing debate between the July 4th Committee and Montville Township Committee on who should cover the costs of the overtime for police officers, who assist with traffic at the event, and DPW workers. Township Administrator Victor Canning said he did not have the exact cost figures for this year's event, but explained the overtime costs from the event last year.
"For 2011, the DPW’s actual [overtime] costs were $11,328, which were estimated this year to be $7,700; police department’s actual [overtime] costs were $28,500, which were estimated this year to be $23,779," he said.
Paster said he feels that it is reasonable that the township covers these costs because of the nature of the event.
"It's a cost, but it's also a township function and if it is a township event they should pay for the police," he said.
The township committee and 4th of July Committee also went back and forth for several months last year on who should pay these costs, with the township committee ultimately agreeing to pay.
Last year, Paster said there was question of whether the parade, which also requires police presence, would be necessary for the celebration but the July 4th Committee and township committee felt that it was and chose to continue to include the event.
"The parade is important, it kicks off the whole day," he said.
The length of the event, three days, is also something expected to continue, as it has for the past 12 years, Paster said.
"The committee goes way back, it's only the past 12 years that we've really expanded show," he said.
What do you think? Should the July 4th Committee pay for the police and DPW overtime costs or the township? Participate in our poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.