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Show's a go: Citrus Heights approves $80K for fireworks, patriotic event

The money was approved to “increase community connection and engagement,” but residents voiced both support and concerns with the spending.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Citrus Heights residents are split on a decision city council made about allotting up to $80,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for a patriotic and firework event later this year. 

The topic was brought to the Jan. 26 city council meeting and aims to “increase community connection and engagement,” according to the agenda item originally mentioned in a November retreat, but residents took to social media to voice their support and concerns with the spending.

Councilmembers were also torn on whether this was an appropriate use of funding, the vote only passed 3-2.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is a federal grant given to cities and other officials for COVID relief during the pandemic. Citrus Heights was slated to receive a total of $15.6 million. Budgeting can be tracked HERE

Some residents want the money to be spent on things like road repairs, especially on streets that have been pummeled by rain in recent weeks, or ways to help the homeless community. 

Public commenters at the meeting were very much against the fireworks display, but encouraged and suggested daytime celebrations or bringing back the Fourth of July parade.

Others say they're excited about a firework show returning to Citrus Heights like they had years ago. 

City officials say the community and the City Council have "consistently voiced a desire to create a new patriotic event for community enjoyment" after long term events were canceled by "safety and financial concerns" back in 2012 and declining attendance and participation in 2019.

Because of this, Citrus Heights officials are pushing to return these kinds of events to meet their top priority: community reconnection

Meghan Huber, Citrus Heights’ director of economic development and community engagement, says this patriotic celebration is one of many ways the city is doing what residents are asking for.

Huber says ARPA funding can be used for "any service provided by a government," and that Citrus Heights takes that one step forward by "ensuring funding goes directly back to the community and its priorities."

While $80,000 may be steep for one event, Huber says the city has never actually been in charge of a fireworks show, and it has always been through a third party. 

"This is new for us, but I can say city staff have been working with fireworks experts who have confirmed this (price) is consistent to other places hosting (similar) events," said Huber. 

The staff report says the event would occur on a Friday or Saturday around 9:30 p.m. at the City Hall campus with the fireworks show lasting "approximately 20 minutes." 

The $80,000 will cover all event expenses from planning and closing roads to a musical performance and the firework show itself, according to City Manager Ashley Feeney.   

WATCH MORE: Citrus Heights celebrates 25 years with annual Sunday Funday event

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