By Stan Welch -The annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks display sponsored by Pelzer and West Pelzer has been canceled this year. Pelzer town administrator Skip Watkins said that budget constraints and other expenses associated with the town’s ongoing sewer project just made it “burdensome” for the town this year.
“The fireworks themselves cost hundreds of dollars, and then you add the expense of a certified shooter. Plus you have the food and drinks and all the town employees working. It just seemed the best decision to stay out of it this year. In the future if the financial situation of the town improves, hopefully we can get back into it.”
Despite Pelzer’s decision to withhold its financial support of the event, due to its own budgetary issues, West Pelzer Town Clerk Paula Payton cited difficulties in acquiring the services of a licensed pyrotechnician to perform the display as the main reason for the cancellation.
“We had anticipated that Pelzer might withdraw this year, so we weren’t too surprised when they did. But when we contacted the person who had done the fireworks last year, she said that additional regulations and liability issues this year made her decide to quit doing it.”
Payton contacted the appropriate state agency and received a list of certified “shooters” as they are known, but none of them were either able or interested in doing the job. “I called everyone on the list within a feasible distance of us and none of them ever gave me a solid answer. Mayor Paxton and I reluctantly decided that the time had grown too short to be sure of getting a credible, dependable licensed shooter, so we are canceling the event.”
“The funding wasn’t the key issue, since our hospitality tax money would have been used for funding the celebration. But we’re going to roll the money we had set aside over into the grand opening of Chapman Park in August. We were going to have a big opening anyway. Now it will just be bigger.”