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City leaders agree: Moving July Fourth was a dud

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POSTED July 13, 2009 12:53 a.m.

It’s un-official.


The majority of the Manteca City Council doesn’t want to see Independence Day celebrated in Manteca on any other day than the Fourth of July.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s itemized agenda, council members one-by-one used the council comment section to voice their preference to keep Independence Day on the Fourth of July.


Manteca this year moved city-sponsored events such as the activities at the Big League Dreams sports complex and the aerial fireworks to the day before – Friday, July 3 – because conducting the events on the Fourth of July would have meant holiday pay as well as overtime pay for additional police officers, firefighters and street crews needed to help with the events.


The savings were pegged at around $10,000.


Once the city essentially declared Independence Day in Manteca on July 3, the Sunrise Kiwanis followed with the parade as did the Manteca Kiwanis with their pancake breakfast. The Manteca Chamber of Commerce still placed its 2,400 flags out on the Fourth of July.


It wasn’t the first time Manteca shifted the Fourth of July to activities July 3. Back in 1999 when the city wasn’t involved in organizing the celebration, the Manteca Fourth of July Committee moved everything from the parade and family activities to the aerial fireworks form Sunday, July 4, to Saturday, July 3. Oakwood Lake resort also moved their fireworks display to July 3.


The rationale was simple. Organizers were worried there would be minimal participation in the parade given it would have taken place on a Sunday when most churches in town conducted services. Oakwood Lake shifted their fireworks in a bid to draw bigger crowds as Monday was a work day for some people.


The Fourth of July in 2010 also falls on a Sunday.


There were some grumblings from the community beforehand about the shift of activities to July 3. Attendance was off a bit at all of the events.
Other cities approached the Fourth of July a bit differently and simply cancelled aerial fireworks to save public safety and streets time plus the actual cost of the pyrotechnics.


Paying for the celebration – minus public safely costs – wasn’t as big an issue with Manteca.


The council used $20,000 in bonus bucks gleaned from developers in exchange for sewer allocation certainty to pay in advance for the fireworks show and the BLD events. They also had several thousand dollars left over from last year’s celebration. The bonus bucks are being reimbursed in part by about 40 percent of the proceeds from the Manteca Police Officers Association fireworks booth as well as the gate admission to the BLD complex.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@manetacbulletin.com

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