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GH fireworks fizzle

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Members of the local Jaycees club have informed the city that, after many years of sponsorship, the club cannot afford to fire up a sky show this year, according to City Manager Pat McGinnis.

Andy James, owner of Indiana-based Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions, said the Jaycees still owe him $14,000 for last year's $22,000 display.

James, whose company has shot off the local show for the past 20 years, said it is not uncommon for the Jaycees to pay off the prior year's bill several months later.

“They've always been able to raise money and pay us in February, March or April,” he said. “This year, they haven't. It kind of blindsided us. We're just wondering what happened.”

James said he received a letter dated April 9 from the Jaycees' treasurer, Chris Beck, describing the service organization's financial woes. The correspondence included references to the club's low membership and the inability to pay its bill.

The city used to kick in $12,000 for the show, which covered about 90 percent of the fireworks show's cost. Last year the city contributed $10,000, which covers less than half of the $22,000 cost.

Beck, who took over treasurer duties in April, said he is not certain why the full $10,000 the city donated was not forwarded to the fireworks company.

"I'm trying to figure everything out," Beck said about the discrepancy. "If we received the $10,000 (from the city), we need to make sure that gets to the fireworks company. Why that money didn't go right away, I don't know. It may be lost somewhere in the rounding of the math."

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