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City sets fireworks for July 3 for coming years

City sets fireworks for July 3 for coming years City sets fireworks for July 3 for coming years

During Monday night’s city of Medford committee of the whole meeting, council members deliberated on whether to have Medford’s annual Independence Day fireworks celebration on July 3 or July 4.

This year was the first year the display was held on the third, and council members are looking at continuing in this way for the coming years.

The planned contractor, Spielbauer Fireworks, guarantees a fireworks crew for Saturday, July 3, 2021 but the city was put on a wait list for Sunday, July 4.

“Getting the fireworks here isn’t the problem, it’s getting a crew to shoot them off,” explained mayor Mike Wellner. “Right now he doesn’t have a crew for the fourth, but he has a crew for Saturday night. If we wanted it on the third he could guarantee that.”

Wellner said in some communities crews might be volunteer fire departments, or really anybody else if they are willing to be properly trained. Medford Area Fire Department used to take part in the display, but they kept running into problems insurance-wise, and would end up paying for some form of reported damage such as the paint on someone’s car.

“The cost was the same for the fire department shooting them off under insurance as it was to have a different company do it,” said city coordinator John Fales.

Alderman Christine Weix brought up the advantage of having the display on Saturday night rather than the fourth, as some will have to go back to work on Monday and won’t appreciate fireworks going off late into Sunday night.

“If you’ve got fireworks going off at 10 o’clock at night on the fourth and you have to be up early for work the next day; fireworks are going off and they’re trying to go to sleep,” said Weix. “Whereas the third they have the whole next day off instead. So I kind of like going with the option of the third, because it gives people the whole day of the fourth to enjoy without having to stay up late and get up the next morning.”

“If people want to have a [celebration] in the park like they’ve done in the past, I’ve got to believe Saturday night is better than a Sunday night,” agreed alderman Mike Bub, voicing his support for a July 3 fireworks display.

Alderman Dave Roiger also agreed, pointing out that the coming stretch of years will see the fourth succeeded by a workday: July 4 will be on a Sunday in 2021, Monday in 2022, Tuesday in 2023, and Thursday in 2024.

“If you have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and go to work, you don’t really want to listen to fireworks going off,” he said.

Public reactions to this years show were mixed, but generally positive. Alderman Dave Brandner said he heard some say it was “not as great, not as good,” while others praised the display.

“I think it was by far the best show we’ve seen of the city fireworks, because everything was so aerial,” said Weix. “People who like to sit close, I heard, didn’t like it as much because they were too high for them. But people who were watching from farther away really liked them.”

Roiger concurred with Weix, saying he too preferred the higher-altitude display.

Brandner and Bub both brought up the notion that the fireworks started too early, and Wellner agreed, saying that was the consensus among those he spoke to.

“To be fair I [deferred to the contractor,] saying he’s the professional and to go when he thought it was good,” said Wellner. “Next time what I would tell him is to make sure that it’s dark enough. That’s the only real complaint I heard.”

The committee agreed the higher aerial fireworks were the superior choice, and that July 3 was the optimal day to host the display to better serve the community.

“We’ll call him and we’ll see if we can get a three of four year contract for having it on the third,” concluded Wellner, with further deliberation on the matter to be taken place at a later date.

Coordinators Report

Three journeyman were interviewed for an open position in electric utility, with a decision to be made by the end of the week.

All but one of the services on Perkins St. is complete; city coordinator John Fales said by the end of the week he thinks they’ll be digging the road out because there’s storm sewer that needs to be placed yet.

Water main project started on Whelen Ave.

In other business, alderman recommended keeping customer rates the same refuse and recycling. The 2021 solid waste collection fee contract rates went up about 3%, but the committee approved taking $29,000 out of retained earnings and putting it into the revenue side of the budget in order keep customer rates the same.