Cicero plans ahead to avoid liability

Town opts for fireworks donation to July 4 festivities

The Cicero Town Board may have surprised a few residents during its regular meeting held at 7 p.m. May 26 when it decided that the annual $500 donation for fireworks to the Fort Brewerton-Greater Oneida Lake Chamber of Commerce July 4 celebration was too much of a liability for the municipality.

While the town has been donating the funds for many years, town of Cicero Supervisor Judy Boyke communicated her thoughts on the issue after the town's attorney, Tony Rivizzigno, advised the board on the town's "huge liability" to the fireworks display.

"If something were to set on fire, a house or a boat, or if someone was injured during the fireworks display, the town would be liable," Boyke said.

The donation caused great concern from some Brewerton residents who said this was another "slight" to the hamlet that has been struggling through tough economic times.

However, Boyke said the town's police support to the annual event is worth much more than the fireworks donation.

According to Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell, the manpower the department supplies is "well over $500." The cost of this service has already been budgeted, as Snell prepares for such police support at community events each year.

"The fireworks are maybe 15 to 30 minutes, but the police are there from 4 o'clock until maybe 10:30 at night," Boyke said.

Both Cicero Police officers and policing volunteers begin shutting down such streets as Kathan Drive and Washington Street by 4:30 p.m. that night so that only residential traffic is going through.

"You don't want any parking on those side streets in case emergency vehicles need to get through," Snell said.

The police chief said the department has been doing this service for about five years with no cost to the Fort Brewerton-Greater Oneida Lake Chamber of Commerce.

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