Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski said rising security costs, lagging attendance and the disbanding of the group that put on the town's Fourth of July fireworks show all led to the cancellation of the event this year.
She was responding to three Town Board members who pinned the blame for the show's demise on the town's decision to cut overtime by 5 percent across the board, leaving Cheektowaga without enough police and other staff to work Tuesday night.
Benczkowski conceded the overtime cuts would affect staffing levels, but said they were recommended by the Budget Advisory Committee. However, she also pointed to:
- Declining attendance at the July 4 fireworks in recent years, with 2016 the lowest yet.
- The disbanding of the Cheektowaga Patriotic Commission and the fact that no one stepped up to replace it.
- The rising costs of security at the event, and safety concerns raised by residents who live near the fireworks site.
Benczkowski didn't rule out reviving the fireworks in 2018.