The Auburn City Council will wait a little longer to decide, but the chances the city will hold its scheduled Independence Day fireworks show on July 4 appear very slim amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While there will be no festival, Michael Parks, the city’s leisure services director, suggested to the council the city could still hold the fireworks show July 4. But he said the provider, East Coast Pyrotechnics, needed a decision this month on whether the city would proceed, postpone the show or cancel it for this year so arrangements can be made.
The council asked Parks if the city could wait a couple more weeks to see what conditions are like later in the month and then make a decision, and he said the company would likely be agreeable to that.
The city has already paid the company a security deposit, and councilman Jay Riemenschneider said the council should wait a little longer before making a decision if it still has to pay the company in the event of a cancellation.
The council informally discussed ideas for postponing the fireworks to later in the year. Labor Day weekend, AuburnFest and even later in the fall were among the suggestions.
Mayor Linda Blechinger said in her recent conference calls with state officials and public health experts, “not one doctor has given me the idea that we’ll be ready soon” to resume large public gatherings.
“There’s already angst to begin with about opening up too soon,” Blechinger said. “We won’t really know for another couple of weeks how things are going to look.
“I would love people to have something to look forward to, but at this point I don’t feel comfortable saying yes to it.”
Councilman Robert Vogel III said he’d like to see the fireworks take place but that, if the situation remains serious, the city wouldn’t be able to adequately enforce social distancing measures.
“We’d be enabling a bad situation,” Vogel said. “We would have people getting out of their cars and gathering with chairs and blankets. If (the pandemic) lightens up, I’d like to see it take place because I thin k people can use some normalcy in their lives right now.”
In other business at the May 7 meeting, the council:
•observed a moment of silence for Blechinger’s husband, Dan, who died last month following a long battle with cancer. The mayor thanked the council and city staff for their encouragement and support. “You really helped us through a very rough time, and I appreciate every one of you,” she said.
•received the Fiscal Year 2021 budget planning schedule from Mitchem. According to the schedule, a capital project and budget planning retreat is scheduled for June 2. The council will hold other budget workshops July 21, July 23 and Aug. 4, conduct a public hearing Aug. 18 and vote on the final proposed budget Sept. 3. The new fiscal year will begin Oct. 1. All the meetings are planned to be held via Zoom until further notice.
•approved a proclamation declaring May 17-23 as Public Works Week.