Madera cancels annual Fourth of July spectacular

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Councilmembers voted to not pay for the annual holiday tradition, saying the decision came down to dollars. (KFSN)

Madera city councilmembers voted to cancel this year's Fourth of July Spectacular and Golf Tournament, claiming there isn't enough money or manpower to put on the event.

The unanimous vote happened during the council's meeting on Wednesday.

District 6 Councilmember, Donald Holley, said they're struggling with a more than $1 million budget deficit, so there isn't enough money to burn.

"It's probably $1.5 million that we're in deficit, give or take. We're trying to save dollars. Hopefully, we can bounce back," Holley said.

Along with a budget deficit, Holley said several city departments are understaffed, so they don't have enough workers to hold the event.

The Parks and Community Services director, Mary Anne Seay, said four employees recently left the department, and they don't plan on hiring anyone to replace them anytime soon.

"We have fewer staff doing the same amount of work, so those are the things I would say factored into their decision," Seay said.

Richard Martinez plays in the annual golf tournament and believes the city should look at other avenues for funding rather than just canceling it altogether.

It's going to be something that a lot of people look forward to, and it's going to be missed," Martinez said.

Seay says the fireworks alone can cost up to $30,000. With the staff time and entertainment, the total cost for the event runs around $60,000.

"We're facing some budget challenges not only this year but in projected future years. Council didn't feel like it was wise to spend resources on a one-day event given the gravity of a budget issue," Seay said.

While Seay said they do raise a portion of money from fundraisers, there haven't been as many donors as usual. They can't afford to bridge the gap. She said they're looking into different ways to bring back the event next year.
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