The San Ramon City Council may make a final decision on the future of Independence Day celebrations Tuesday. The Council is set to review the recommendation of the Parks and Community Services Commission at its Dec. 11 meeting.
In October, the Commission officially recommended that the city not bring back fireworks in 2013. Commissioners instead favored a celebration with a fun run, a concert and armed forces tribute. Officials cited public safety and financial concerns as the rationale for discontinuing the aerial fireworks display. The display was cancelled this year for the same reasons.
City officials held community meetings on the future of fireworks as well as polls and online surveys using Open San Ramon. In an October 2012 survey of 287 residents living around elementary school zones, 202 were in favor of an event with on-site fireworks (an event like the 2011 celebration). Forty-two wanted an event with no fireworks.
Approximately 30,000 people attended 2011's fireworks and cost the city approximately $175,000. Officials said the event kept the city in gridlock for hours, taxed both police and firefighters and left trash bins overflowing.
In order to stem the attendance problem, the committees were tasked with making a regional event more San Ramon Valley-oriented.
This year's Independence Day celebration drew a more manageable crowd of 2,000 and consisted of a 10K, 5K and 3K run, a tribute to veterans and those currently serving, a patriotic concert by the San Ramon Symphonic Band and a show by Pride and Joy, a popular band based in San Francisco.
There are sufficient funds in the 2012/2013 budget to hold the "Celebrate America Celebrate San Ramon" event recommended by the Commission, though an additional $276,500 would needed should the Council restore an aerial fireworks display.
Tuesday's meeting will be held at the City Hall (2222 Camino Ramon) at 7 p.m. Regular City Council meetings are broadcast on Contra Costa Television (channel 27) on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 1 p.m. and on AT&T U-Verse (channel 99).