Goff Hill not available for fireworks viewing due to Auburn budget cuts

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AUBURN — People accustomed to watching the Twin Cities July 4 fireworks display from atop Goff Hill will have to find a different viewing perch, thanks to state and city budget cuts.

Deputy police Chief Jason Moen confirmed Friday that police will not close Court Street to Goff Hill traffic Thursday for the Liberty Festival fireworks display.

The city traditionally closes the road between Lake and Holly streets for the display, turning the 1,000 feet of road into a viewing plaza. Hundreds of people typically gather there to watch the fireworks over the Great Falls.

"Usually, it takes one officer to close that, but we've reduced our staffing for the event so that's no longer an option for us," Moen said.

Moen said the decision is part of budget cuts approved by city councilors Monday. That budget, which begins on July 1, cuts $405,000 in overtime for city employees.

Those cuts are just one part of a $1.7 million reduction the City Council made to cover a shortage in state revenue sharing. Legislators approved that revenue sharing reduction as a part of the state's two-year budget Wednesday.

Moen said the cuts mean police do not have the budget to close down roads for special events, including the Liberty Festival, August's Great Falls Balloon Festival, the Dempsey Challenge in the fall or various running and bicycle races.

"In the past, there has been a list of approved events that the city has provided in-kind services for, and we've always budgeted overtime for that," Moen said. "But now, with the budget reductions, we are not going to be staffing those events."

Organizers of the Great Falls Balloon Festival issued a news release Friday morning confirming that this year's event would be smaller because of Auburn's in-kind budget cuts. The festival usually features events in Lewiston and Auburn, with concerts on stage at Auburn's Festival Plaza. All acts and food vendors will be located in Lewiston this year.

But Moen said the Liberty Festival events at Great Falls Plaza and around Festival Plaza will go on this year as scheduled. Event staff will close Great Falls Plaza to through traffic to make room for vendors and the celebration Thursday, and the city will close Main Street around Festival Plaza.


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 's picture

For those who

disagreed with my earlier comment, the hole is one of the reasons why some pilots won't fly in the festival anymore. Not worth the hassle. People are disrespectful of the pilots and their equipment. It's one of many reasons why your down to 20 or so balloons.

One Wallet - Five Governments

Keep up the "tax and spend" socialist pot stirring Sun Journal. Sick and dangerous ... not merely sad.
Maine Controller's office CAFR shows Maine spent $ 7.5 BILLION in 2012-2013. Also shows $3.1 BILLION came from D.C. ... only 41 % of every dollar spent by "Maine's" government.
D.C. had to borrow 40 cents (40 %) of every dollar those fools spent "for U.S. all". This means "our" U.S. government borrowed almost $1.3 BILLION just to pay Maine's bills over the last 12 months. I guess the Sun Journal and the other pro spending and debt fools in Maine thinks D.C. should borrow MORE from our grandchildren and their grandchildren to be spent in Maine this coming year and every year ahead.
And Maine is not "sharing" enough money with the 455 local governments in one of the ... poorest, most taxed ... states in our nation that has more government per capita and that all these "old and poor" Mainers have to support ... as does the Government of the United States with more spending and more debt every year.
We, in our nation, can't even afford to pay for more than 60 % of what our federal "government" costs each year. We, in Maine, can't even afford to pay for 60 % of what our state "government" costs each year. We, in our Androscoggin, cannot afford to pay what our county "government" wants to spend with money from each of our 14 municipal governments in our county. The people, in Auburn, can't afford to pay for what Auburn's two, municipal and school, "governments" want to spend each year.
Yes, the problem is not enough taxes and not enough spending paid from the ONE WALLET each taxpayer into the grasping claws of FIVE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENTS we all desperately need ? ! ? ! ?
Thank you Sun Journal for the endless tax and spend propaganda. This time blame Augusta or LePage for not enough state money. Next time blame Washington, the President or Congress, for not enough federal money. The time after that blame, the Mayor or Council or School Board, for not enough money. Ultimately you are always insulting and demanding more and more money and debt from "We the People".
It is no wonder most "news"papers are steadily failing all over Maine and all over the United States.

Jim Vadeboncoeur's picture

Funny how they can use

Funny how they can use Volunteers to help direct traffic at fires and accidents and close those roads but they cant close a street for 2 hrs with the same people. Political posturing by the police chief is all i see.

 's picture

use your resources

Why can't the city staff get away from scare tactics and do the job they have - managing the assets they have to accomplish the mission they are given?

Why not use the volunteers the police have at their disposal to close that road for the half hour of the fireworks? Problem solved and money saved in overtime costs. This is really not a big deal. One would think with the amount of money these folks take home they could think of simple solutions to minor issues.

Mark Elliott's picture

They want to show the public

They want to show the public that voting down the budget they want is bad. They do this by cutting the things the public notices most.........sound like a certain administrator in Washington??

 's picture

Now maybe

they will see the light and possibly move the balloon festival out of that hole they are using now and move to someplace like the Colisee where entertainment could be held indoors if rain threatens.


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