Sunday, July 12, 2015

Your 2015 4th of July Independence Day Celebration - four minute mid-segment and the Grand Finale

 
This is a four minute segment to give you a feel of the overall show. There were A LOT of shells in that four minute segment.
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This was the final minute or so of the show and then the Grand Finale.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saving Wallingford’s Fireworks - Act VI


Saving Wallingford’s Fireworks

Act VI

 

2015 arrived with bountiful volumes of snow again this year and just as it was in 2013 and 2014, there was still a foot of snow on the ground through to the first week of April. This again hampered our collection efforts into mid-April. The seven volunteer spent much of that time sending out mailings to the residents and doing some canvas work of businesses in an effort to get sponsorships from them as we had done in prior years and we did a little pail shaking too.

This year I did not have my normal discussion with Mayor Dickinson. He has steadfastly maintained in all the years prior that the Town would not be able to partner with the Fund in covering some costs such as the cost of the employee overtime and services and I expected nothing different this year. Taxes went up (basically) $108.30 on average for the median assessed household and if the FULL SHOW was included in the taxes (all costs – including the fireworks) that would have made the tax increase go up an additional $2.00 to (about) $110.30.
 
Instead I watched during the budgets, the departments not ask the Mayor for consideration of the costs for the overtime, and I watched the Mayor not include it in his budget that was presented to the public and the Town Council.
 
I approached the Council regarding covering the $13,000 or so for the town services and after some discussions and deliberations, the Council did add seventy cents to the tax increase, taking it to (about) $109.00 to cover the town services for the July 4th Independence Day event which is now scheduled for July 11th on the school grounds on the west side of town.
 
With that, the seven volunteers continued our efforts to raise the $16,000 still needed.
 
The end result of the efforts were a success even without a major corporate sponsor. Over the prior three years Gale Development and the Campus at Greenhill donated $15,000 (2012), $15,000 (2013), and $10,000 (2014). We were hopeful for their partnership again in 2015 but it was not to pass. Regardless, we are thankful for all the help and support they have offered us over the past three years. They have indicated their desire to work with us for future events so I am still hopeful that we may be able to approach them again for future events. We will continue to look to other Wallingford corporations to support this event and sponsor it in 2016.
 
The residents and businesses of Wallingford, as well as some supporting friends and neighbors from other towns, made sure 2015 did not pass without a celebration of the birth of our nation. Like so many of us with actual birthdays on one day and a party on another when it’s more convenient – Wallingford celebrates the 239th birthday of the United States of America on July 11, 2015.
 
To every supporter of the Wallingford Fireworks Fund – thank you for six years of support – we could NOT do this without you

 

Jason Zandri

President – Wallingford Fireworks Fund
 
 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wallingford - please join us for your 4th of July Independence Day Celebration this Saturday July 11th

Well Wallingford – it’s that time; this Saturday July 11th is the show. The grounds are open all day but generally people begin gathering after 7PM. The show is expected to start off right around 9:15PM or so but we do recommend that you get there for 8:30PM the latest to see well enough to find a place to sit while there is still some twilight to see by.

The weather looks to be shaping up to be very nice and the humidity looks to be decent so please pack a little something to eat or drink, grab your friends and family, and head down to Hope Hill Road on the grounds of Sheehan, Moran, and Highland Schools to grab a spot and enjoy the show. 


Just a few reminders:

Alcohol is not allowed on the grounds of the schools; the police have a presence and they will enforce that law.

There are probably not as many trash containers as we all would like but please be considerate – if you brought it there, take it away.


For more details on this please see the Press Statement from the Wallingford Department of Police Services



Parking – it is available on the school grounds but it fills up; when you are parking in the neighborhood please be mindful of:


  • Right of way – please make sure you are not blocking people’s driveways
  • Emergency vehicles – in most cases, parking is temporarily prohibited on one side of the street; this is to make sure emergency vehicles can get to where they need to go.
  • Neighborhoods – as we park and pass through them please consider yourself a guest there and behave like one. Yes there is a big celebration going on but we are still walking through someone else’s “home” – please be considerate; don’t do something to and from your car that you’d find unacceptable or intolerable in your own neighborhood

As a final reminder – please remember, this is your show; we would not have one if all of you did not donate.

We thank you so very much for the support that has allowed The Fund to restore this show for the 6th year in a row.

When you see us walking the grounds and collecting for 2016 please consider donating and be as generous as your budget allows. This is the ONLY way there will be a show in 2016.

As with all things regarding this effort – thank you for supporting us; we could not do it without you. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Four days to go – $925.00 remains

The checks we have are cleared and the money we had in savings from last year is fully transferred over; we are still looking for that final $925.00

We have raised and transferred in from our savings account a total of  $15,075.00. We are on the Town Council Agenda for Tuesday May 26 to present the funds to the town and we need to have all the money in – this is our final push to get that done.

If you can stop by and see us this weekend (with cash because we need checks cleared) please do.

If you are planning to send a check you can to the address below; it won’t likely clear to the account in time but we can use it for our bills (postage for thank you letters, additional printing costs for the program guides, etc).

Wallingford Fireworks Fund
c/o Jason Zandri
35 Lincoln Drive EXT
Wallingford CT 06492

If you’d like to support us via PAYPAL you can as well; these funds will directly go into the donation to the town:

Each year as we come down to the wire the people of Wallingford step up; I expect we will again. It will be a great honor to gift these funds toward the event on your behalf at the Council meeting.

Once this is complete, only the weather can stop us (there is no rain date). At present, the celebration will be held on the grounds of Moran, Sheehan, and Highland schools on Saturday July 11th for our event.

Thank you everyone who has already donated and everyone that is going to step up between now and the 26th – this ONLY happens because of you.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Five days to go - $1,200.00 still needed

With the success of our Paint Night fund raiser behind us as part of the effort from the Wallingford's 12 Months of Giving community we will be out this weekend collecting at the Wallingford Landfill, Wallingford Post Office and the South Colony Dunkin Donuts to close the final $1,200.00 gap needed for the fireworks.

We have raised and transferred in from our savings account a total of  $14,796.00. We are on the Town Council Agenda for Tuesday May 26 to present the funds to the town and we need to have all the money in – this is our final push to get that done.

If you can stop by and see us this weekend (with cash because we need checks cleared) please do.

If you are planning to send a check you can to the address below; if you could do that today it would be extremely helpful.

Wallingford Fireworks Fund
c/o Jason Zandri
35 Lincoln Drive EXT
Wallingford CT 06492

If you’d like to support us via PAYPAL you can as well:



Each year as we come down to the wire the people of Wallingford step up; I expect we will again. It will be a great honor to gift these funds toward the event on your behalf at the Council meeting.

Let’s make it happen and I’ll see you on the grounds of Moran, Sheehan, and Highland schools on Saturday July 11th for our event.

Thank you everyone who has already donated and everyone that is going to step up between now and the 26th – this ONLY happens because of you.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Three weeks remain - $5,940.00 to go

On Saturday May 9th we will be collecting at the Wallingford Landfill as well as the Post Office in Wallingford Center.

We have about three weeks remaining as the funds are due to the town on the final Friday of the month – May 29th.

As it stands presently, we need to collect $5,940.00 additional dollars in donations in order to reach the $16,000.00 (revised amount from the bid) that needs to be donated to the Town of Wallingford to cover the costs of the fireworks. On May 5th, the Town Council moved funding in the budget to cover the town's overtime costs for the event (see Wallingford Town Council votes to raise mayor salary; cover overtime costs for fireworks show). So long as there are no issues approving the budget, this will stand.

If you’d like to support us by attending the Paint Night for Charity, that would be Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00PM to 9:00PM Jakes Tavern LLC. The full details can be found via this link.

If you’d like to sponsor us via an ad in the WALLINGFORD FIREWORKS FUND 2015 Program Guide you can by getting the details here.

If you’d like to donate via Paypal, you can via the link on this page.

Lastly, if you’d like to mail us your donation, those details are:

Wallingford Fireworks Fund
c/o Jason Zandri
35 Lincoln Drive EXT
Wallingford CT 06492



Thank you for all your past support and for your consideration in 2015 - now let's get this done.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Four weeks remain - $8,000.00 to go

Today is Saturday May 2nd and we will be collecting at the North Colony Dunkin Donuts (near Shop Rite) until about noon.

We have about four weeks remaining as the funds are due to the town on the final Friday of the month – May 29th.

I’ve had a number of past donors asking about the muddiness surrounding the event; I believe a few of them are holding back on donations pending the town deciding to pay for the town services. (In a couple of cases I know for sure – they told me so directly.)

Please don’t. When you support other causes, you don’t wait to see if goals are going to be met or conditions occur; if you support the cause, you support it. You wouldn’t hold back your support from Masters Manna (for example) on whether or not they were going to move locations or not (in most cases) – if you support their cause, you donate. You wouldn’t hold back your support of something at one of the Elementary Schools pending the replacement of someone in the administration there; if you support the school and the kids you donate. I could go on with the Dog Park, Boy Scouts, whatever.

What I CAN tell you is that if we do not reach the $16,500 goal this year, the show will MOST CERTAINLY not occur as there would be too little money to pay for the pyrotechnics (the fireworks).

If the town should decide to NOT pay for the town services that does not necessarily mean the show is completely dead in the water. The Fund would look to other, private property locations from which to host the event.

We are not that far along yet.

We raise the funds – with your help.

The town pays for the town services and overtime – pending an affirmative Town Council vote.

The show is held on the west side of town as it has been since the 1970s.

That’s “PLAN A”; if we need to go to PLAN B that happens no sooner than the Council vote on the budget.

In the meantime – the seven of us are collecting donations.

If you can swing by this morning – please come and see us.

If you’d like to support us by attending the Paint Night for Charity, that would be Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00PM to 9:00PM Jakes Tavern LLC. The full details can be found via this link.

If you’d like to sponsor us via an ad in the WALLINGFORD FIREWORKS FUND 2015 Program Guide you can by getting the details here.

If you’d like to donate via Paypal, you can via the link on this page.

Lastly, if you’d like to mail us your donation, those details are:

Wallingford Fireworks Fund
c/o Jason Zandri
35 Lincoln Drive EXT
Wallingford CT 06492

At the end of the day, this is all up to you. With all the times it is said, “it really sucks not having the control to affect [TOPIC]”, that couldn’t be more untrue here. You donate, you push your elected officials to do the right thing and restore the town services for the celebration of the birth of the nation, and you get it done, as you have, since 2010.

Thank you for all your past support and for your consideration in 2015

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Support the Wallingford Fireworks Fund effort–donate via PAYPAL

We need all the help we can get – please see our past posts for all the details.

Any amount is helpful; it only takes a dollar to pitch in (but we wouldn’t turn away a large donation either Smile  )

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wallingford 4th of July Independence Day Celebration donation letters are in the mail

Below is a screen shot of the letter that was mailed today and directly below is the text of the same.

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image

Wallingford Fireworks Fund
Jason Zandri
35 Lincoln Drive EXT
Wallingford, CT 06492

I wanted to drop this letter to you to express my personal thanks once again for your past support to the Wallingford Fireworks Fund and the Wallingford 4th of July Independence Day Celebration.

The efforts of the past five years have allowed the Wallingford Fireworks Fund, with your help, to save Wallingford’s Independence Day celebration. Together, we have raised nearly $130,000 to continually save the event as shown by the cost outline below.

Fireworks Show

 

$63,627.88

Police Overtime

 

$40,501.00

Fire Department / Overtime

 

$10,200.00

Port-o-lets

 

$2,540.00

Fire Marshall

 

$4,450.00

Public Works

 

$1,055.00

Board of Ed

 

$1,610.00

R Band and Sound

 

$3,300.00

     
     

Five Year Total

 

$127,283.88

The fireworks show for 2015 has again gone unfunded by the town. The difference for 2015 is that The Fund is only making the effort to raise the $16,500 for the pyrotechnics (fireworks) without any consideration for the town services. We have made it clear to the town that as an organization, we will not be collecting for the town services. We are the only non-profit that gets charged in full for town services and while we have always felt that was an inequity there was little we could do to change that. The town was never interested in funding those costs and merely took the stance “do it all or the celebration will not be held.”

The Town of Wallingford still has not budgeted for those costs. None of the departments have asked for nor been granted the additional overtime into their budgets.

With that, we are rolling the dice. The Fund is going to leave it to the Town Council to make the adjustments in the budgets to cover the approximate costs of $15,000 for the town services. The additional risks here are there may not be the votes on the Council to add the amounts needed to cover the services OR that if they do, the Mayor may still veto the Council budget, which restores his back – the one without the costs to cover the overtime.

As outlined, the 2015 campaign effort has a total fundraising goal of $16,500; if we cannot collect this amount by the last Friday in May, per the Mayor’s timeline for when the funds are due, the show will not occur. If the amount IS raised and Wallingford does not provide services (police, fire, public works, etc.) the show will not occur.

In years past, we always voted that if the funding could not be raised we would roll the funds forward to the following year. We never had to do that. The voting this year was that if we should not be able to have a show, for either of the reasons above, we would donate the funds to another non-profit (as allowed under law) and dissolve the 501 © 3 as the message would be clear – this is too minor of an issue for 47,000 citizens to invest a dollar and a minute of time to donate it, to save a celebration that’s been occurring in this town for over five decades.

We have steadfastly believed differently for five years. A few of us have worked over 1,000 hours in total to make this happen. The others have worked several hundred hours. We believe differently, even today, but we want to be clear, open, and transparent as to what actions will occur given certain outcomes.

So with that known, we move forward. Enclosed separately are our advertising rates for our 2015 program guide along with the rates for formal sponsorship of the 2015 event at varying levels if you or anyone you know can and wish to support us at those levels.

The 2015 Sponsor Book will be handed out at ALL fundraising events (after first printing planned for the first week of May), this includes the Paint Night for Charity fundraiser and any other events we'll be having until the July 4th fireworks show. (If there are still copies remaining for Celebrate Wallingford 2015 we'll hand them out there as well).

As of today we have set the date for the Paint Night for Charity for Wednesday May 20, 2015. There is also an enclosed flyer with that information as well.

If you have any capacity and / or desire to continue to help us with the efforts in keeping this grand Wallingford family tradition alive please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Spreading the word to friends and neighbors that might support the efforts is always welcome as well.

If you wish to donate, you can drop a note to us with your donation. You can keep up to date with everything we have going on by visiting our blog at http://wallingfordfireworks.blogspot.com/

Thank you again for your past support and our ongoing efforts.

Jason Zandri
President – Wallingford Fireworks Fund
http://www.wallingfordfireworks.org/

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Mayor's budget does NOT include overtime costs for the town services; next move is the Town Council's

I called Police Chief William Wright this morning to simply confirm what I had suspected (as it's been par for the course since 2010) - the Police Department did not add consideration to their overtime budget request to take into account the costs of the services for the fireworks and the Wallingford Independence Day celebration. I did not call the other departments (Fire, Public Works, etc.) because it is unlikely they broke from recent procedure either.

With that, and due to the fact that Mayor Dickinson also did not add funding to those line items (overtime), there is no money allocated to the department budgets for the service costs for the event.

The approximate burden in total from all departments is $14,000. Based on the prior mill rate and property tax figures that is approximately a .35% increase charge per property owner.

The cost of that is SEVENTY CENTS on the 
median valued residential property owner. That is the amount of taxes that are being saved by not affording this cost for the event. 

One mill raises about four million dollars. That burden to the median valued residential property owner (a home appraised at about $290,000 and assessed at 70% of that or about $200,000 for the purposes of taxes) is $200 in increased taxes.
If taxes needed to be raised to fund the $14,000 (and they don't - we returned $760,000 to the general fund from last year; taxes charged to all property owners but went unspent) but if they HAD to be so as to NOT going into our TWENTY MILLION DOLLAR SAVINGS ACCOUNT (made up of your unspent taxes from years of over taxation) then it would be a SEVENTY CENT BURDEN to have the event for the median valued residential property owner

From here, pretty much the last step that can be practically taken is for the Town Council, when discussing those department budgets either add the amounts needed to the overtime line items OR to place another department to be responsible for those costs and to increase their budget to that accordingly.

The next move is the Town Council's.

If no action is taken, there will be no show on the west side of town, on the grounds of the schools for 2015, regardless of whether The Fund raises the $16,500 for the fireworks (the aerial pyrotechnics) or not.