The Redlands City Council approved an expenditure of $30,000 for the 2021 Fourth of July celebration at Moore Middle School during its meeting on Tuesday, April 6.
Councilman Paul Foster said the event serves a public purpose because it promotes tourism and economic development.
“This is a modified show on the Moore fields without public attendance, he said. “For many years, we had wonderful celebrations at the University of Redlands and Sylvan Park. They were cornerstone events for our city. Last year, we were unable to proceed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The Fourth of July Committee worked hard with the Redlands Unified School District to hold the event at Moore due to escalating costs at the university. Without the $30,000, they couldn’t put on a show because last year generated no money. I want to make it clear the committee won’t ask for a fee waiver, and these expenditure funds are contingent on receiving all of the appropriate permitting from Fire Department officials and the committee raising an additional $25,000 to cover operational costs.”
Councilwomen Denise Davis and Jenna Lowery voted against the expenditure approval.
“I have no problem with professional shows or celebrating the Fourth of July safely, and we should,” said Davis. “However, my issue is the financial element. It appears this money would come out of the operational budget for park maintenance. I am not comfortable spending public funds on fireworks, which is a one-time event that benefits a small portion of the community. The funds are better spent for their intended use on park maintenance.”