BY KELLY GOOCH
A group of Overton residents is making efforts to have a community fireworks show this Fourth of July after the city cut its sponsorship.
The city, which previously sponsored the annual event, has decided not to do so this year because of the its financial situation, Overton City Manager Joe Cantu said.
He said the city had unexpected water and wastewater expenses, including about $17,000 for refurbishing a water storage tank, about $4,600 to replace a water pump and $1,000 to buy doors for a chlorinator room.
Cantu said about $2,500 is spent on the fireworks each year, and he’d rather have the money for city services in the event something occurs.
“This is more of a business decision,” he said, adding, “I’m trying to look out for the city’s welfare.”
Mayor C.R. Evans said resident Noey Brown, along with others, is now trying to get donations so a fireworks show can happen this year. In the past, the show, which takes place in the city park, has been an hour, but some are thinking of maybe doing a show that is shorter and less costly, he said.
Brown is “trying hard to have something,” Evans said.
Attempts by the Tyler Morning Telegraph to reach Brown for more information about his efforts weren’t successful Monday afternoon.
Evans estimated the event has drawn at least several hundred people.
On “Lakeshore (Drive), usually you can’t find a place to park…,” he said. “It’s something that the community does look forward to.”
Resident and City Councilman Pat Beets, who operates the fireworks each year, agreed, saying he views the annual event as an opportunity for the city “to give something back to the community.”
He said he also sees the event as a way to bring in out-of-towners, who will spend money in Overton.
“It’s a good way of showing our patriotic pride in America,” Beets added.
He said he would be pleased if donations come in and the show goes on.