BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County hasn’t had a fireworks display celebrating the Fourth of July for several years.
To see an organized event, most people have to travel out-of county, such as the Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey.
County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said it’s time to bring the flash and boom back to Hernando and asked his colleagues this week to approve a $30,000 to $35,000 expenditure to sponsor an Independence Day fireworks display at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
The county could reap the profits from beer sales and other events, he said.
“This is an opportunity to give back to the community,” Nicholson said.
But Nicholson’s idea didn’t catch fire with other board members who appreciated his enthusiasm but suggested other ways to bring back fireworks besides spending taxpayer dollars.
Commissioner Jim Adkins said President John Adams and the Founding Fathers wanted all Americans to celebrate Independence Day with parades, sports, pomp and circumstance and, yes, fireworks.
“Adams likely never imagined, however, that many of these illuminations would come at the expense of the taxpayers,” Adkins said.
Resident Hamilton Hanson said rather than dip into the budget to pay for an Independence Day celebration, the county should seek vendors and volunteers who will fund activities and fireworks.
“Let’s look to the community,” Hanson said. “Let’s look for a way of funding this through private enterprise.”
Commissioner Diane Rowden said she couldn’t support Nicholson’s request because there is not enough time between now and July 4.
Rowden said planning could start now for July 2015 by seeking support from the Hernando County Fair Association and people in the community.
Commissioner Dave Russell thanked Nicholson for broaching the subject and “perhaps sparking some interest from the community to come forward to help out” – either this year or next.
“I think that would be a grand gesture,” Russell said.