Oro Valley won't have a town-sponsored Fourth of July event next month, the town council decided last week.
"There were many things about this process that were really disheartening," said Councilwoman Salette Latas, who proposed a last-chance effort to put on an event, and who cast the lone vote for town funding. "At least I can say we tried."
"The time frame is way too late, mixed up and confused," Councilman Kenneth "KC" Carter said.
In previous years, the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council has used town funding to help pay for music, entertainment, security and transportation for an Independence Day celebration, most recently at Riverfront Park. This year, the town twice balked at GOVAC requests for specific Fourth of July funds, and the arts council decided not to stage an event. It is assisting with a Fourth of July celebration at Rillito Raceway Park.
"We made our decision in January, pretty much," Mayor Paul Loomis said of the winter vote rejecting GOVAC's funding request. "To move forward, to try to set up a Fourth of July celebration this year, is a little too late."
On Wednesday, town staff told the council the "minimum cost" for a celebration was $15,000 to $20,000, with $12,000 of that sum needed for traffic management and on-site law enforcement patrol.
A suggestion had been made to hold the event at Oro Valley Marketplace, Oro Valley's new retail center at Tangerine and Oracle roads.
"The heat's going to kill you in the middle of the afternoon," Carter said.
"I didn't think the marketplace was the ideal place," Latas said. She was "disheartened" the marketplace and its tenants agreed to host an event, but not help pay for it.
"This is an opportunity for the town to take back the event," said Councilman Bill Garner, who urged Oro Valley to create its own Fourth of July celebration for 2010. "GOVAC left us high and dry. GOVAC has made the decision on its own to abandon us."
Garner, along with council members Carter, Gillaspie and Latas voted against funding the event when GOVAC requested money in February.
Members said they didn't want to give the arts group money for the event because the request for funding fell outside the normal community group funding cycle.