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Fireworks displays lit up the beaches in Pinellas County on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day. The image above from a drone captures the fireworks display over Redington Shores.

REDINGTON SHORES — The town’s problems with Fourth of July fireworks continue, despite a successful outcome this year.

The difficulties were mostly behind the scenes this time and happened prior to the impressive fireworks show seen by the crowd.

But Mayor MaryBeth Henderson said at the July 14 Town Commission meeting that this year’s fireworks display almost did not happen.

“I want to thank the Indian Shores Police Department and Seminole Fire Department, and the town employees that help us out at the very last minute to make the show go on,” Henderson said.

The display last year was canceled due to COVID, and the year before the fireworks were misdirected and never showed up.

“It was a very stressful three years with these fireworks,” Henderson said. She said this year’s display was a great show, but “it was pretty stressful and had the potential to be bad news.” She also said the town has lost a lot of money with the fireworks.

Henderson questioned whether the displays are worth the trouble. The “no-show (two years ago) and what happened this last time might lead us to consider not doing this anymore.” She added, “It’s kind of hard to find pyrotechs (fireworks experts), is what the problem is.”

Commissioner Jennie Blackburn said, “I thought we were just getting good at it.”

Commissioner Bill Krajewski said the fireworks were “spectacular” this year. However, “It was an 18-hour day for three or more individuals wo worked with the town. It was almost another cancellation when the people walked off the job at the last minute. It was very difficult,” he said.

Krajewski said Redington Shores could consider alternating fireworks displays every other year with neighboring Madeira Beach, which does a similar show.

Henderson said she has seen some spectacular, though illegal, fireworks displays done by citizens on July Fourth that are an alternative for people to see.

“I’ve seen fireworks shows done by citizens that were, wow!” she said.

Millage rate won't increase

The commission decided to set the town’s tentative millage rate for the upcoming year the same as the current rate at 1.6896. That is the county’s third-lowest rate.

One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The town’s Financial Advisory Committee had recommended maintaining the current rate rather than adopting the rollback rate, a lower rate which would have brought in the same revenue as last year.

According to data provided by the Pinellas County Tax Appraiser, property values in Redington Shores have risen over 8 percent, which will bring in an additional $108,000 to the town while leaving the millage rate unchanged.

Solar speed signs for 175th Avenue

New solar powered speed signs will replace the battery-operated signs on 175th Avenue. The commission voted to spend $7,000 on two signs at the location, one facing each direction.

The batteries on the current signs have run out and will cost up to $600 to replace, Blackburn said. She recommended going with solar signs from the current vendor which are cast aluminum, rather than a less costly version from an alternate vendor that are made of polymer and are less durable.

The town can also program what the signs will say, and the software will provide data such as the time of day and days of the week when most speed violations occur, Blackburn said. That can aid the police in efforts to reduce speeding.

Trash fee rising

An agreed-upon 4 percent increase in the charge for trash collection in the town will be passed on to the residents, Commissioner Michael Robinson said. He said the town’s contract with Waste Connections allows for the increase, which will be added to the bill residents receive for their trash and recycling service.