Due to citywide budget cuts resulting from a $5.6 million revenue shortfall in the last fiscal year, the City of Fort Collins wasn’t able to foot the bill for the Fourth of July celebration at City Park this year.
In an “effort to address economic challenges and concerns” the city eliminated live entertainment and canceled vendors prior to the fireworks display in order to save approximately $10,000, John Litel, a public relations specialist for the City of Fort Collins, said in a press release from the city last Sunday.
“Budget shortfalls have determined that the City of Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Department needs to identify expense reductions,” Litel said.
When the city said it wouldn’t pay for the fireworks display, Poudre Valley Health Systems donated $25,000 to keep the tradition — the largest event they’ve sponsored to-date — alive and well.
“(The money) is actually coming out of the marketing budget, which we set aside every year for marketing (projects) and sponsoring community events,” said PVHS Marketing Director Gary Kimsey.
But this isn’t the first time PVHS has saved the Fourth of July festivities. The same thing happened last year and it might again next year, said David Roy, city council member for District 6, the same district City Park is located.
Assistant Fire Marshal Shawn Brann said he didn’t notice a significant decrease in event turnout last year despite entertainment cuts. “Even though some activities (were) scaled back, the event was still well-attended.”
Regardless of the cancelled activities, police, traffic control and other services will still be available, Litel said.
The mayor was unavailable for comment.
Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.