The Ormond Beach City Commission did not want to postpone the city’s July 4th celebration and fireworks display.
But moving the pyrotechnics show to Labor Day weekend beat the alternative.
“I absolutely hate the idea of not having a Fourth of July celebration for our residents,” Commissioner Troy Kent said.
“It is one of the greatest things that we do,” Mayor Bill Partington noted.
After discussing alternatives May 12, the commissioners decided to reschedule the annual fireworks display over the Halifax River to Saturday, Sept. 5, combining two holiday celebrations in one.
The city will host “Light Up Labor Day,” which will include Ormond Beach’s traditional Fourth of July festivities at Rockefeller Gardens.
While some cities have canceled their fireworks shows after Gov. Ron DeSantis extended Florida’s state of emergency, which includes social distancing directives, through July 7, Ormond Beach commissioners voted to not only secure the fall date for fireworks, but also to add five minutes to the show’s grand finale at an added cost of $7,000 to the $58,000 already budgeted for the event.
Leisure Services Director Robert Carolin said city staff had tentatively agreed to the Sept. 5 date with Fireworks by Santore of Palm Coast to reserve the barge from which the fireworks are released.
After some discussion, the commissioners agreed to secure the date.
Commissioners Kent and Susan Persis asked about possible dates later in July after the governor’s Covid-19 executive order expires. City Attorney Randy Hayes noted the governor could extend the order again for another 60 days.
Commissioner Rob Littleton inquired about possibly canceling the Fourth of July celebration, which traditionally draws large crowds, but still shoot off fireworks as scheduled.
“I’d hate to cancel (the celebration) outright,” Mayor Partington said. “But I want to have it at a time when people are thoroughly comfortable coming out and we know that we’ll have good, safe participation.”
“I think we have to postpone,” Commissioner Dwight Selby said. “Those most vulnerable can’t really enjoy the celebration when there’s a big crowd of people. I think (Labor Day weekend) is far enough into the future to not run into an extension of the governor’s order. I think we would be safe for Labor Day, it’s a holiday weekend anyway and kids have Monday off.”
The May 12 meeting was the first at City Hall after two virtual meetings in April. In other business:
•As part of its consent agenda, the commission approved a public transportation grant agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation to fund the access road project at Ormond Beach Municipal Airport.
The project will connect the southwest quadrant of the airport to the Airport Business Park. The access roads and extension of utilities are expected to help drive additional business development to the southwest quadrant.
•The commission approved three resolutions clarifying the city’s annexation policy relating to utility connections outside of Ormond Beach’s municipal boundaries. Property owners in Ormond-by-the Sea will not be required to enter into an annexation agreement as a condition to receive water and sewer services.