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Ossining Hopes to Get Bang for Buck with Fireworks

OSSINING, N.Y. – It looks as though the village's annual Independence Day fireworks show that draws thousands of spectators to Ossining will continue to light up the skies over the Hudson River for at least the next two years.

The majority of the village board Tuesday night expressed support for spending about $50,000 for a likely July 3 spectacular at Louis Engel Waterfront Park, but decided to wait a week before officially giving Recreation Supervisor Henry Atterbury the go-ahead to sign a contract with Garden State Fireworks, which has dazzled onlookers for the last 14 years.

"It is astounding to me that people come from all over the county to our fireworks. It makes the village look terrific to the outside world," Mayor William Hanauer said.

"I think the fireworks are a vital part of the activities of our community," Trustee Robert Daraio said. "I think we need to give our constituents the opportunity to participate in this celebration. If we can find the money, we should."

The fireworks cost about $23,000, of which $18,000 is funded by the village and the remaining $5,000 contributed by the Town of Ossining. However, overtime for police for the event costs between $20,000 and $25,000, according to Chief Joseph Burton, and overtime for employees of the department of public works adds another $7,000.

No money was set aside in the village's 2012 budget specifically for fireworks but funds are available in the $320,000 contingency budget.

Trustee Marlene Cheatham maintained the village should be careful with its money this year and suggested having the fireworks show every other year. Hanauer said the village must have fireworks in 2013 to celebrate the village's bicentennial.

"It's nice to give back to our community but we have to be a little more prudent in how we're spending our funds," Cheatham said. "We need to be a little more mindful of our spending."

Atterbury suggested having residents make a donation when they go to the fireworks show to help the village offset the costs.

"I think charging people $1 to get in is not excessive," he said. "It's a pretty good show for a buck."

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