A long-running Hellertown summer tradition was dealt a blow at Monday’s Borough Council Meeting when council members voted not to donate money to Dewey Fire Company No. 1 for their annual summer fireworks show.
Dewey’s fireworks show is usually held during their summer carnival. In April, fire company president Gail Nolf announced that Dewey would not be holding the carnival in 2020, in part due to public health and safety requirements necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic which will be in effect throughout the summer.
The fate of the beloved fireworks show was in limbo at the time of the announcement, as borough officials worked with the fire company to figure out if it would be possible to host the event.
“The plan was to try to do something later this summer or early fall,” said council president Tom Rieger at Monday’s meeting.
Dewey was asking council for $4,000 to fund the fireworks show. The fire company had been awaiting a decision from borough council in order to finalize plans for the event.
Several council members pointed out that Hellertown had not provided funds for the fireworks in their 2020 budget.
“We did not budget for the fireworks because of some concerns about the audit in the financial stability,” said council member Gil Stauffer.
Council members also cited the borough’s fluctuating financial status caused by the COVID emergency as another reason to be hesitant in providing funds for the fireworks.
“It’s a difficult decision to make,” Stauffer said. “I know it’s a community-wide, popular event, but we have to look at our own dollars at this point.”
Borough council ultimately decided to motion to consider adding funds for fireworks when they begin their 2021 budget discussions.
Mayor David Heintzelman said he’s holding out hope for this year’s fireworks show, as he proposed that Dewey solicit Hellertown businesses to help raise funds for the show.
“I still strongly think that they (Dewey) can go out and raise the money from the businesses in town,” Heintzelman said. “I really believe that.”
In other business at the meeting Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp discussed his department’s excessive force avoidance tactics, and both Rieger and Heintzelman remarked on the issue of racial hatred in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd.