The Town of Winamac plans to organize next year’s Fourth of July fireworks itself. Over the past few years, a private individual has been handling the planning aspect, while the town, at least in theory, just collects the donations and pays the bill.
Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger told the town council last week that arrangement has led to some problems. Specifically, a couple of donors still hadn’t paid the town what they had promised. “Not only that, we had one company here in town that needed an invoice in order to give the donation,” she said. “Well, I didn’t have any choice but to do an invoice from the town, but we aren’t supposed to be a part of that.” Meanwhile, the town has refused to pay the $5,200 bill to the fireworks provider until all the donations are received.
Council President Tom Murray felt the town shouldn’t have to serve as a collection agency. “You know, this bill should have been paid a week or two after it was done, and I don’t think Melanie and the girls should have to have the headaches at the Clerk’s Office,” he said. “I mean, they put up with all the problems. So I guess my suggestion is we just, as a town, advertise. I don’t care if you want to advertise in the paper for a couple months: anybody that wants to donate to the fireworks, please bring it to the town office.”
Under the new arrangement, Winamac plans to ask for donations between now and June 1, 2017. How much money is raised by then will determine the size of the fireworks display.