The price of fireworks has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and Morristown will have to pay nearly double to host next summer’s annual Independence Day light show.
According to town administrator Eric Dodge, Northstar Fireworks, which has handled the town’s fireworks display for about 15 years, has been having “the same supply issues that every other industry is having” because their products come from China.
Up until now, the town paid Northstar $6,500 for its July 4th show, and Dodge said it’s now going to be a minimum of $10,000 to shoot off the works.
Dodge told the town selectboard Monday night that there are cheaper options, such as holding the display on July 3rd or 5th, when the price would be exactly half — a minimum of $5,000. Board member Jess Graham advocated for that cost savings, but she was the only one on the five-person board to do so.
“I understand the importance of the day. But, if I’m looking at the greater good, I can’t in good conscience say let’s spend twice as much,” Graham said.
Brian Kellogg wondered if the town could buy its own fireworks and store them in a bunker and have a local licensed professional shoot them off. That suggestion was pushed off for another time, though, since Dodge said Northstar wants to lock in its longstanding customers.
Town clerk Sara Haskins said one year, about a decade ago, the town moved the Independence Day celebrations to July 5th, and it was “a nightmare.”
Dodge said he’s surprised fireworks companies haven’t previously jacked up their prices for certain days. He likened it to the stiff prices for all things romantic on Valentine’s Day.
“You’ll never buy a rose more expensive than on February 14. Thus go our fireworks,” Dodge said.
Also Monday, the selectboard authorized the purchase of a pair of snowmobiles for the Morristown Police Department to use on area trails during the winter.
According to detective, and acting police chief, Jason Luneau, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) reached out to the police department after a serious accident near Fitzgerald Road a few years ago and offered to help the agency — along with other Vermont police departments — come up with the necessary equipment.
Selectboard chair Gary Nolan said one day last year he hung out with a Morristown officer who was posted in his police cruiser near a road crossing for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. He said there were a lot of people riding without the requisite trail passes or registration, but they would be gone too quickly to say anything to them.
“The VAST people are really glad to see law enforcement out there,” Nolan said.
Luneau said VAST has grant funding that will cover up much of the purchase cost, pending approval by the Governor’s Snowmobile Council as part of the statewide Snowmobile Trails Program.
The purchase will include two sleds — a used 2016 Ski-Doo MXZ X800R E-TEC for $6,400 and a new 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ Sport 600 ACE for $5,900 — as well as accessories.
The total price tag would be about $12,850 but the grant, if approved, would knock that price down to about $2,500, which is what the board authorized.