Volunteers who organize an annual Fourth of July celebration in Wake Forest want town leaders to set aside money for the two-day event to help cover rising costs.
A committee of volunteers submitted a budget request to the town, asking for $5,000 a year to cover general costs and $6,000 a year to hire police officers, said Town Manager Mark Williams.
This summer’s celebration will definitely take place, marking the 42nd year for the event. But future celebrations are uncertain without more town funding, said volunteer Rob Mitchell, who has worked with the committee for two years.
In the past, Wake Forest didn’t charge the group for police officers to be present at the event.
But now, the committee would have to pay for the service. Williams said it would cost between $5,000 and $6,000.
“We felt like we couldn’t continue to do that,” Williams said of the town covering the cost. “We’re trying to account for things a little better.”
Typically, the committee spends about $30,000 on the event, which features a children’s parade, vendors and fireworks. Most of the money comes from ticket and concession sales from the prior year.
Previously, the town has given the committee between $4,000 and $5,000 a year to help pay for the the event, Williams said.
Mitchell said it’s not realistic for the committee to pay thousands of dollars to cover the cost of police officers.
“It was certainly more than we could absorb in our budget,” he said.
Williams said other organizations that host events in town pay for police.
Last month, Mitchell asked the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners to designate the Fourth of July celebration an “official town event.”
The committee suggested the town take over the planning of the event and volunteers would help, Mitchell said.
Wake Forest staff is currently working on a draft budget and is considering each request, Williams said.
A draft budget is expected to be presented to commissioners May 5.
Mitchell said the Fourth of July celebration is too important not to host.
“It’s important for us to come together and celebrate our country,” he said.