4th of July 'Will Not Be 3-Day Event' in Montville

Rides, parade may be cancelled in 2013 but mayor said he is hopeful a group of volunteers will come together to make holiday tradition bigger next year.

The fireworks show will go on, but the extended celebration Montville Township has been used to celebrating around Independence Day for the past several years will be limited in 2013.

"It will not be a three-day event," Mayor Tim Braden said.

The township announced last week that this year's event will include fireworks at the Montville Community Park. But past that, Braden said he is unsure whether most of the activities, including the parade and flea market, will be a part of this year's celebration. What Braden was fairly certain would not be included this year are carnival rides.

Township officials said the event has been scaled back after the not-for-profit corporation that organized it each year, the Montville Township 4th of July Committee, Inc., was "no longer a viable corporation." The committee was made up of dozens of volunteers from Montville.

Braden said he was unable to comment on what happened with the committee, but two of the committee's leaders resigned late last year. One of those leaders was Irwin Paster, who chaired the committee for a number of years.

"After doing it for so many years, it's time somebody else took it over," Paster said.

In 2012, after the event, some residents questioned whether the township would once again have the large-scale celebration they had become accustomed to. Paster said he was confident it would. Now Paster said if the township did want to host the same kind of event as last year, officials would have to start planning right away.

"The only thing I can say is that they started late so it's going to be hard to put together a three-day event," he said.

Still, Braden said the township could not organize such an event on its own.

"It's too large a celebration for it to be a municipal function," he said.

Township Committee members recently discussed township-sponsored events versus township-endorsed events, the difference being how much funding the township allocates toward each. The Independence Day celebration was classified as a hybrid event as the township has exceeded the amount it would typically expend for an endorsed event to cover the costs of police and DPW overtime needed.

Braden said in order for a three-day celebration to move forward, the township would need help. While that committee may not be in place now, Braden said he is confident one will be in place in time for the following year's celebration.

"We anticipate getting back to a full-scale three-day event in 2014," he said.

Peter Greendyk February 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM
If the 4th of July Committee, Inc is a corporation, aren't there mechanisms in place to perpetrate its existence if some of the principals resign?
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 12, 2013 at 01:58 PM
I thought that, outside police overtime, the merchants and the rides were a net bonus to the township. Weren't they?
Scott Lavenburg February 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
It seems to me the Corporation and the township dropped the ball. This should have been handled in much more professional manor. The corporation could have been passed on had people been notified about the need for someone to take over. It’s a shame because this has been a long standing tradition so many families who enjoyed sharing this event with their town and other families. I personally feel let down.
john rosellini February 12, 2013 at 08:57 PM
I think the mayor is neglecting to say that this had turned into a fight between the Fourth of July committee ( a group of volunteers who worked hard and successfully put on this event for years) and the township committee. Did it come down to a fight over $$ for police overtime and DPW overtime??? Time to put egos aside and re-activate the Fourth of July Committee. This is a sad occurrance for Montville and the truth needs to be brought forward.
Scot W February 13, 2013 at 02:17 PM
John, I did get the feeling from past articles that this was an internal disagreement between the Fourth of July Committee and the township. It is a shame that our "leaders" can't put pettiness aside and do what's right for the good of the entire town. I've lived in Montville for many years and it's sad that this wonderful tradition has to end because of small minded people. We have to stop rotating weak leadership in this town and get someone in there who wants to help improve this community.
momcheer80 February 13, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Scot - That was not my understanding from reading those articles. It appears that the government never controlled the 4th of July Committee or the corporation that ran the event. They didn't appoint any of the volunteers, and the government had no say in what events would be part of the celebration. I think we need to take another look at the leadership of the 4th of July, Inc. and their lack of a succession plan, It's not fair to all the hard working volunteers who ran the event, and it's not fair to the community. You can't just "take your ball and go home" - even my kids know that's wrong.
poptart February 13, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I don't have an issue with cutting back. The flea market stuff is mostly junk but kids of all ages love the carnival and the parade. It's a great event for our town. The group has been doing this for years. There must be a plan to follow. Don't hesitate, get the carnival lined up and then go from there! It's the same weekend every year. Cut a day off of the event if needed and have it Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday. Most of the parade is local groups so just start making call out to the ones that are outside the area. The corp must have a list of past groups that participated in the parade! I don't recall seeing anywhere that this group was looking for volunteers.
Dan Grant February 13, 2013 at 11:51 PM
The Fourth of July Committee was appointed by the Township Committee and are all volunteers. The Township Committee budgeted "Back up Money" to keep the Fourth of July solvent and the Township's contribution was the Police and Road Department. The money to fund the Fireworks come from the concessions the rides. Parking is a major fund raiser for organizations like MBSA, The Explorers and other groups who split the fees with 4th of July. This event has been going on for decades as a Community Tradition until this Township Committee got involved. We are losing good people here and a great event. The members of this Township Committee have no interest in anything other than their own egos. They have proven time and time again that they have no respect for Montville Township as a community or it's history. This is just another of a long line of failures from this Township Committee.
momcheer80 February 14, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Dan - Now I am really confused. After reading your comment, I called a few of my friends who are/were on the 4th of July committee. They told me they are not appointed by the elected officials, the government and elected officials had no input or say in what events would be part of the celebration, and they didn't receive any money from the government at all including any "back up money". They did confirm that the police and road department employee expenses were covered by the government, but that was the extent of their involvement. I don't understand how you and they can have a completely different understanding of what's going on. I guess I should just "go to the source" for my information and not rely on the comment section of the article. I should have known better....
Montville Mom February 14, 2013 at 02:40 PM
"We have to stop rotating weak leadership in this town and get someone in there who wants to help improve this community." Agreed. The cancellation of the 4th of July celebration is a HUGE loss to this town. My kids and I are being robbed of precious childhood memories- walking in the parade, feeling the joy of riding the carousel for the 100th time... all because two groups of people can't get along. Such a sad outcome.
Dan Grant February 14, 2013 at 05:33 PM
The confusion may come from how things are done now vs how they were when I was on the Committee but they were always sanctioned by the township Committee.. The Township trusted the 4th of July Committee to handle it and never had any imput into the activities. They have always done a great job. The Township was represented on the 4th of July Committee by Township Employees and elected officials . The Township Committee did in fact establish a "Back Up Fund" in the event that the 4th of July Committee fell short due to a rain out or other issue. I don't believe they ever took a dime of it. Through the 15 years I served on the Township Committee there was never any doubt that the program would take place. I am not sure what source you will go to for information. I do know that it was run for years by a very dedicated group including the Former Mayor Rosellini and Former Committeewoman Mayor Marie Cetrulo who were always very hands on. I don't know what involvement the mambers of this Township Committee have today or what exactly caused this failure. I understand it has to do with a $1500 .00 bill the Township Committee wants paid and that I believe is penny smart and dollar foolish. You might even call it a disgrace.
momcheer80 February 14, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Oh Ok. That makes sense. You were referring to what happened ages ago and not how things have been done over the last six or seven years. From what i understand, the reason why the 4th of July Committee became a separate company and ran the event without the government's input or involvement was because the elected officials back then were too "hands on", and people became very "uncomfortable" with how they exercised their control. I would hate to see that happen again. We were lucky that this independent group took over and ran such a terrific celebration over the last six to seven years. There also seems to be a lot of venom,anger and finger pointing from people including past politicians that is not helping the situation. I think everyone needs to grow up and help figure out how to get this thing back on track.
Dan Grant February 14, 2013 at 06:39 PM
You can't fix it when you don't know what is wrong. The system from ages "ago" (seven years) worked for a couple of decades and now it is in trouble. I don't remember this type of controversy " ages ago". That is new and comes under the present leadership. That is a fact, not venom and if "past politicians" know the history of when it all worked well, why shouldn't they comment ?
john rosellini February 14, 2013 at 08:32 PM
momcheer80, your derogatory comments , " hands on" "uncomfortable" are baseless and not factual. the fourth of july committee has been on the township committee's reorganization agenda through 2012. Not "ages ago"! Fred Eckhardt, Marie Cetrulo and Art Daughtry and myself were members for years... see elected officials volunteered to help. the separate corporation was established at the recommendation of the township attorney since the fourth of july committee had their own bank account. township insurance covered these volunteer members. The fact is that several members of the current township committee are looking to take over the "bank account". The fourth of july committee members resigned over a bill for 6500 which the township committee sent to them after this years event. So instead of cancelling an event, how about a meeting of the township committee and the fourth of july committee. End the petty politics.
john rosellini February 14, 2013 at 09:31 PM
So, the last 5 years we no longer have the Towaco Jazz Festival supported by the Township Committee, We no longer have Montville Day supported by the Township Committee, and now we lose the fourth of july committee over $6500. Do you realize that $6500 is less than .00001% of our 97 million tax levy. Where are the Traditions and Spirit of our Community?
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 14, 2013 at 09:42 PM
There isn't that much discretionary budget in those $97 million. Between Board's profligacy, public workers' appetites, and debt payment, how much is really left there? That said, I'd rather have a small extra levy (or a fireworks parking surcharge) and a parade than neither.
Dave F February 15, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Wow John... when you make stuff up, you really go all out! The Jazz Fest was not funded by the TC, so if the TCA chooses not have the event it's unfortunate, but it's their call. The 4th of July committee is on the reorg agenda, but not because the TC appoints the members - if you attended any of the December re-org meetings you would know that, alternately, you can simply call the Township Clerk to verify. I love the one where you claim the TC is looking to "take over the checking account". That's laughable, since everyone on the 4th of July Committee knows the account contains no money. It's not like the old days John; elected officials can no longer take what they want with impunity.
john rosellini February 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Dave, unfortunately people here don't use their full names. Check the history of the Towaco Jazz Festival, the town walked away and then the TCA picked up the ball and has continued the event. Your last sentence doesn't even deserve an answer.
Dan Grant February 15, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Dave, John is absolutely right and the Towaco Jazz Festival was a Township Event until this group came to power. Why don't you have the decency to post under your full name if you want to make charges. This is the least informed Township Committee we have ever had and the most political. Almost nothing they do is for the Community. The events they have either eliminated or will eliminate hurt the Township and the worst part of it is that they don't even understand what they are doing. Now before you make anymore charges stand up and use your name.
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM
This is sad, I've had a lot of great memories those three days since i was a kid.
BrittReid February 18, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Maybe when Irwin left, he took the blueprint on how to organize a cash flow positive carnival (said tongue in cheek). I can recommend that our town council take a day trip to Hasbrouk Heights. We have friends there and AMAZINGLY they have a township day (quite large), holiday parade/tree lighting, 4th of July parade/carnival, etc. Given how little we get done, Hasbrouck Heights is a miracle of modern science; or we expect little from a council which gets nothing done. HH events never seem to get canceled and that is with a smaller population and a lower tax base. Maybe we need to copy their model because we can't even figure out how to run a parade (like our neighbors in Parsippany (Memorial Day), Boonton and Denville (holiday). I think we need help because even the worst towns can run a carnival. I fell bad for the newcomers to Montville and the volunteers that have worked on these "traditions".


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