Fireworks display organizers still have some work to do

The Cairo City Council voted in favor of covering one-third of the total cost of a July 4, 2016 fireworks display provided the Grady County Commission and private donors cover the remaining two-thirds of the total cost.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas explained to Michael Best, a Grady County resident and community activist who has spearheaded an effort to resume Independence Day fireworks here, that there are additional costs in addition to the expense of the fireworks show.
“I don’t think $12,000 will cover it. If the city contributes $4,000 and then has to turn around and pay $3,000 in overtime labor who pays the other two-thirds for the cost? Should the city taxpayers and rate payers pay $7,000 and the county only pay $4,000? Is that fair? The total cost needs to be looked at,” Douglas said.
Best said that the Grady County Commission had approved up to $4,000 in funding and he has commitments for approximately $4,000 in funding from the private sector. He also talked with CNS Cable officials in Thomasville, which is the organization that sponsors the fireworks display in Thomas County, and was told the fireworks display would cost approximately $10,000.
Douglas said he did not know exactly what the total cost of the event would be, but he made clear his opinion the city should only cover the cost of one-third of the exact total.
The city councilman said that in the past the city was picking up those additional costs and the county did not, which he said was not fair then nor is it fair now.
Best said that perhaps sheriff’s deputies could be utilized to reduce city police department overtime the night of the event and volunteer fire department personnel could also assist with the show to reduce the city’s personnel expenses.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton agreed to meet with Best and help develop a budget for the fireworks display.
Douglas offered a motion to commit the city to one-third of the total cost of the fireworks display in cash or in-kind services and the motion passed unanimously.
The last public fireworks display here was conducted on July 4, 2008. In 2009, the Grady County Commission pulled its funding for the event and the Cairo City Council followed suit.
“This is a great opportunity to bring fireworks back to Grady County on July 4th. It will keep people here in the community buying food and gas rather than traveling to Thomasville, Tallahassee or Bainbridge to see fireworks. It will be a great chance for some wholesome family fun and I appreciate the county and city coming together with local businesses and private donors to bring fireworks back to Grady County,” Best said.

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