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4th of July Event Overtime Costs: Who Should Pay?

Committee chairman feels township should pick up police, DPW costs for community event.

Many residents spend much of the year looking forward to the three-day 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 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 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  on who should pay these costs, with the township committee ultimately agreeing to pay.

Last year, Paster said of whether , 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.

Carol July 06, 2012 at 04:09 AM
that was not a yes or no question. you need to reword it correctly!!
Mrs. Smith July 06, 2012 at 10:33 AM
If we all voted 'no', who would pay? I like the disclaimer - 'This is not a scientific poll.' Why should this even be an issue? It's a once a year township event and it should be paid by the township.
Lois July 06, 2012 at 11:30 AM
fix the questions - the township or the committee can't be answered with yes or no
Ariana Cohn-Sheehan (Editor) July 06, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Oops, you're all right. Sorry about that. It is now fixed.
Dan Grant July 06, 2012 at 12:04 PM
In the total context of the $90 million the Township collects in taxes, this event represents a miniscule amount with a big reward for the community. It shouldn't even be a question that the Township should fund the municipal side of the costs. It is a town wide event that draws thousands of people. In my view it is a part of the traditions of a great place to live. There will be no effect on anyone's tax bill by canceling it or even just shifting the cost over to the 4th of July Committee who then may not be able to raise the money to fund those costs.
Bob Smith July 06, 2012 at 12:47 PM
To tell you the truth the money that they collect for parking ($10 per car) to see the fireworks, should be used to pay the overtime cost. I have gone to plenty of fireworks shows this year and did not pay a cent to park and they were alot better than these were. Alone on the baseball field they must have collect well over 5k... Take that money and pay for it. When I was asked to move where I was sitting after I just paid the $10 to park, because they needed to fit more cars in, tells me I will never go to the Montville fireworks again, I will go to a free show that is alot better and I don't have to be asked to move so we can make more money!!!
Maxim Sapozhnikov July 06, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Small thing to pay, big event to enjoy. Unlike many other programs, the parade is one I don't mind paying my taxes for. It would be inconceivable to burden the volunteers with paying for everyone's fun.
Scott Gallopo July 06, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Just an FYI... in 2011 the TC agreed to create a budget line item earmarking $25,000 to pay for DPW and Police OT for the 3 day Fun Fair and fireworks. The OT for these events is paid for by the Township, not the 4th of July Committee. This is a community event, and I am more than happy to support the 3 day Fun Fair and the fireworks with funding from the line item in our budget. This is how a public/private partnership should work and should be encouraged. Scott Gallopo Township Committeeman
Liz Kril July 06, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Looks like that's where the excess water/sewer surplus is going to be used. Don't be surprised by more future creative (excuses) uses for the surplus.
Dan Grant July 06, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Liz, two separate issues, Please don't join them. Yes the Township should pay the municipal cost for the 4th of July and no, money should not be taken from rate payers in either the form of an excessive surplus or to offset property taxes in order to appear like you are meeting the Governors 2 percent cap. We have a lot more serious issues to confront than this 3 day very successful event. Issues that have very real consequences. Things like rezoning to suit political friends, purchasing land to benefit political supporters and potential business partners and cuts to the Police and other safety services. None of those things have anything to do with the great tradition of Montville Township's 4th of July.
Truscha Quatrone July 06, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I would feel better about the event if the July 4th committee filed a 990 tax report. They do not and have not for the 3 years I OPRA'd a request for. This committee takes in a great deal of cash and we have not way of knowing exactly how much they are taking in unless the file a tax report. I think the event is great and should be continued, but let's find out how much money the committee is taking in every year.
Liz Kril July 06, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Mr. Dan Grant: Why not join them? That's exactly what they will be doing. OOPS! Did I let the cat out of the bag?
Dan Grant July 06, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Liz, that cat has been running around the neighborhood for a while now. Once the money hits the general fund I guess you could say it goes anywhere. Several years ago we stopped a Cell Tower from going on State land and signed a lease to put it on Township property. It is the one that is behind the Senior House. We had that extra income figured for Special Events like the 4th of July and Montville Day.
Randy Miller July 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Truscha, same as Dem Club?
Dan Grant July 06, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Truscha, Don't bother answring Randy. It is pointless. Randy, how about following the dicussion? Truscha's question about their filings are legitimate. They are I believe a non-profit and have rules to follow. the question of their financial status is legitimate and not answered by your questions about the Democratic Club. For your information political organizations are not non-profits. Truscha is the Chair of the Montville Township Democratic Committee and they raise no money at all and if the Democratic Club raises anything they fall under ELECT. As far as I know the 4th of July organization has run for years without incident but it is not unfair to ask to see the open documents they have to file. don't you think you would be happier not being so small minded?
Chipgal July 07, 2012 at 02:04 AM
At $3.75 per ride, may I ask who makes the profit on this? The rides were all of MAYBE a minute long......
Mrs. Smith July 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The rides are brought in by a private source. The people who own the ride company have a right to make money don't they? They bring in employees and have to provide insurance etc... However I did learn from someone in town today that some of the money they make does towards the fireworks. If what Scott Gallopo is saying is correct, why is this question even being asked?
Dan Grant July 07, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I am sure the 4th of July committee makes money off of the rides, That is how they continue to function and yes it probably adds to the cost. I don't see a problem with that. I assume the 4th of July also get a piece of everything else that happens there. The fireworks and parade take money and not Township Tax dollars. The reason the question comes up is because many do not trust the Township Committee.
Truscha Quatrone July 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
In 2011 there was a $41,628 profit off rides. The issue is if you are not filing 990 reports you are required to pay tax on the money your fund raise. If you are not paying the tax then you are breaking the law. Providing a financial statement to the TC committee is a requirement of the township. Filing a 990 form is a legal requirement to keep 501. C status.
john rosellini July 08, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Everyone is asking good questions , having served on the fourth of July committee for many years, I can tell you that these are a group of hard working volunteers working for 12 months to put this event together. As far as the parking money goes, that is topically has been split with the groups collecting it such as montville baseball softball etc. as far as ride profits...where do you think the $25000 comes from for the fireworks, or the $6000 for the parade? Don't ruin a great township event with politics. Finally, thank you every member of the 2012 fourth of July committee . Great job
Gary Lewis July 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Well said, John......I am tiring of people attacking Montville's volunteers in the name of self-righteousness and 'transparency'. No one argues that laws have to be followed, but these folks are not entitled to tear down our traditions and the good people who volunteer their time to preserve them. If Mr. Paster says the show will go on, and our committemen (and woman) continue to support the event, then case closed and see you all next year! Gary Lewis
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Rev. Rich February 20, 2013 at 03:11 PM
You took the words right out of me. I was thinking the same thing, where is all the money going $10 per car in all the parking areas around the school?

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