Apr. 23, 2016 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
“I don’t care what anybody says, you take the party out of it, you take the money out of it.”
Plymouth Township Treasurer Ron Edwards has a big job ahead of him.
He is faced with the task of raising $34,500 for the annual fireworks display at the township 4th of July display, along with another $8,000 to $12,000 for the special viewing party for donors and special guests.
Despite heated and extensive criticism of the party from members of the audience, board members approved the awarding of the contract for the show to Zembelli Fireworks Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, PA, a company that has provided the display previously.
This year, the display will take place July 3 at Hilltop Golf Course and include more than 4,300 explosive devices. The company agreed to provide $10 million in insurance for the event, while the low bidder, Great Lakes Fireworks of Eastpointe which bid $29,000, could only provide $5 million in insurance, at least until June 25.
Trustee Bob Doroshewitz told the board members and assembled crowd that he did not think $100 million would be enough insurance to cover the display, should there be a serious mishap or disaster.
The contract was approved 6-1 vote with the dissenting vote cast by Trustee Chuck Curmi.
Most of the criticism from audience members was regarding the special viewing party to which Edwards invites from 600-700 donors, sponsors and political allies. That event usually costs from $8,000 to $12,000 and is a private, invitation only event which includes a meal and alcoholic drinks. Both Doroshewitz and Curmi objected to the private party and Doroshewitz, an attorney, said that serving alcohol presents a specific liability to the township. He criticized some of the spending for party items in the past that included orchid leis from Hawaii one year.
Curmi said he would rather the township not solicit donations for the fireworks, the private party and the Good Old Fashioned Picnic the township hosts in the park annually on July 4. Curmi has suggested repeatedly that a community group or service club assume the sponsorship and organization of the events.
Edwards said that donors enjoy the party.
“I don’t care what anybody says, you take the party out of it, you take the money out of it, Edwards said.
The board members also agreed by a 4-3 vote to allow the Plymouth-Canton Stars to charge $5 per vehicle for parking during the fireworks and party. This will be the third year the group, affiliated with the Special Olympics, has organized the parking. The group will split the parking fees, estimated at $6,000 by Edwards, with the township.
Doroshewitz, Curmi and Trustee Mike Kelly opposed the arrangement, suggesting that the group be allowed to keep all the parking revenue rather than split with the township. Supervisor Shannon Price, Edwards, Clerk Nancy Conzelman and Trustee Steve Mann cast the majority votes.