Budget cuts, layoffs mean no SP 4th of July Fireworks

June 26, 2009
Santa Paula News

With city budget cuts and employee layoffs there will be no 4th of July fireworks display this year in Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesWith city budget cuts and employee layoffs there will be no 4th of July fireworks display this year in Santa Paula. The city, like others throughout the nation and especially those in budget buffeted California, has had to tighten their belts, and Santa Paula recently adopted a squeezed budget that included the loss of five employees.When it comes to the city sponsored fireworks show, residents had gotten used to seeing those bombs bursting in air, a display centered at Harding Park but visible throughout most of the city. Independence Day barbecues were extra special, with the polytechnic air show seen from many front porches and back yards, an event that would draw thousands of people to Harding Park for a closer look.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said it was his decision to forego this year’s patriotic display, which annually cost about $15,000. “Given the financial condition of the city and layoffs we needed to not do that,” he noted.
The fireworks spectacular was discontinued in 2001 and started up again under city sponsorship in 2003 with enthusiastic City Council approval after a strong lobbying effort by Bobkiewicz, who came to work for the city late in 2002.The move to layoff five city employees came after eight others were earlier offered - and accepted - Golden Handshake early retirements. Four of the five employees being laid off were offered the same deal or the option of a severance package based on length of service, the latter also given to a part-time employee whose time with the city had been short.The employees had been informed April 30 that layoffs were looming: “We let them know the layoffs would happen two months later and we gave them 60 days notice,” far longer, said Bobkiewicz, than other cities’ two weeks notification, “and choices.... We did the budget early primarily for these five people so we could be compassionate to their needs.”A majority of affected employees have not yet communicated to the city which option they prefer. Santa Paula, he added, was the only municipal budget in Ventura County that was adopted in May.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.