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To save money, July 4 is July 3
Bonus bucks from new homes paying for aerial fireworks
Fourth of July fireworks in Manteca will take place on July 3 this year under a plan being pondered by the City Council to save money. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Manteca’s Fourth of July fireworks this year are symbolic of the once high flying new home building sector that imploded when the liar loans crisis started sinking the housing market.

It will be money that rolled into the city coffers’ from the housing boom that has gone bust that will be bursting in air.

Upwards of $20,000 that will be used to pay for the aerial display and day-time activities is coming from bonus bucks paid by new home builders to secure the certainty of residential sewer allocations. That is roughly what builders paid to secure two allocations. The plan though is to replace the bonus bucks given the expectation Manteca is expected to develop an $11.3 million deficit in the fiscal year that starts July 1. They will try to accomplish that by charging a $2 admission for adults, $1 for ages 13 to 12, while those 12 and under will get in free to the community Fourth of July party that starts at 4 p.m. and ends around 10:30 p.m. when the last fireworks explode in the high sky.

Also, in another nod to the city’s pending fiscal crisis, the Fourth of July won’t be celebrated on Saturday, July 4, this year in Manteca. Instead, the entertainment at the Big League Dreams sports complex where the aerial fireworks will take place is being proposed for Friday, July 3. The reason – it will keep the city from paying substantial overtime for police and fire personnel.

Zambelli Fireworks Internationale is proposing to do a “superior” 18 to 20 minute show at a lower cost of $16,000 due partially to holding the aerial fireworks display on July 3 when there is less demand for their services.

The city is considering imposing a fee of $100 per vendor as well as a token $2 admission fee to access all kids’ activities. The city, when they took over the day-time event from the Manteca Chamber of Commerce, dropped the charge per kid’s activities and went to free access. The $2 charge, unlike two years ago, covers access to all kids’ activities and not just one segment for a set amount of time.

Staff is suggesting the city drop expensive professional entertainment and using community entertainers instead.

The city currently has $4,300 in the fireworks donation account and $3,700 in the Fourth of July community events donations account. What isn’t covered by those two accounts and any new donations or fees collected during the celebration will be covered by the bonus bucks.

Staff is asking to have $20,000 in bonus bucks earmarked. Staff anticipates, though, that the subsidy will end up being between $4,000 and $15,000 which will allow the balance to be returned to the bonus bucks account.

Bonus bucks aren’t restricted in what the council can do with them. In the past, they have been used for one-time expenditures – primarily amenities like the skate park and completing the Union Road fire station as well as helping bridge a previous budget shortfall.

The projected general fund deficit of $11.3 million was based on revenue and spending trends in place in December. The council has since started taking steps to curtail spending even though the city isn’t expected to have a deficit in  the current fiscal year.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton projects that half of the deficit will be covered with cuts already put in place and implementing strategies now being discussed.

The modified Fourth of July celebration for Manteca contrasts with Ripon. The City Council in Ripon has cancelled the aerial fireworks show in a bid to plug their deficit.

The City Council will review the Fourth of July proposal at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.