Warner Robins Council starts fireworks fundraising

mstucka@macon.comMarch 17, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- City Council agreed Monday to give $30,000 to help fund the city’s Independence Day Celebration, launching an effort to raise all the $100,000 to $150,000 needed to bring live music and fireworks.

Time is short to line up the production for this year, said Ken McCall, chairman of the Downtown Development Authority, which plans to host the event.

“We’re ready to jump off and move with this thing,” McCall told City Council. “We’re just coming to you for some help.”

The $30,000 contribution matches the amount the city donated last year, when the music was rained out twice before being canceled. The fireworks finally were launched in August.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Command had helped fund and organize the event for years before that, using the Civitan Club as a local partner. The Civitan Club’s Allen Tatman is helping out but not organizing the whole show.

The $30,000 request drew a 6-0 vote Monday with little discussion in the formal City Council meeting. Councilman Chuck Shaheen was absent.

Councilman Clifford Holmes voted for the measure after noting that the city also provides extensive in-kind services through its police and fire departments.

McCall told council members in a pre-council meeting that the city event’s traditional sponsors were waiting for a phone call. If the 2014 event can’t be organized in time, McCall said he hopes sponsors will roll over their donations to launch a 2015 event. He also turned away a question about weather insurance, saying it was nearly as expensive as the event itself. McCall suggested the city consider help from above.

“If it looks like it’s getting dry, don’t pray for rain for your garden,” he said.

Separately Monday, council members agreed to launch a search for companies interested in managing the city’s construction projects. A list of respondents and their qualifications may be ready for the city government’s full-day retreat on April 2.

Councilman Mike Davis said such a project manager could help with the city’s many upcoming projects funded by the special purpose local option sales tax. Davis told The Telegraph that the city most needs such a project manager for a planned sports complex and a new fire station. The hospital authority, county government and school system all have used such a system in the past. International City Builders proposed such a system to council members in August.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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