Fireworks continue to be a contentious issue. Both sides are very adamant about their position. Every year the situation is brought up and argued on and offline. The City Council has reviewed the Pacifica fireworks dilemma multiple times and always sided with the majority of the citizens who have repeatedly made it clear that they want the fireworks sales to continue.
Safe and sane fireworks have been voted on by the citizens of Pacifica twice – in 1983 (In favor 62% to 38%) and 1996 In favor 70% to 30%). In January of 2020 an informal FlashVote was responded to by 341 people on multiple questions. There have also been three task forces undertaken. The approximate $30,000+ that it costs in police and fire overtime comes from the sale of the safe and sane fireworks. If there are no sales, those funds will have to come from somewhere else.
The non-profit groups receive $180,000 to $200,000 over the five-day sale period. (Page 44, 2/22/2021 Council Agenda.)
Fireworks will again go for public vote in November 2022.
The following history of the Safe and Sane Fireworks Program was provided at the February 8, 2021 City Council Meeting.
The history of the Safe and Sane fireworks sales program in Pacifica dates back to March 1961, when City Council adopted Ordinance No. 167, regulating the sales of fireworks. As is the case today, the ordinance specified local non-profit groups as eligible to obtain a fireworks permit.
September 23, 2019
The City Council held a study session regarding the Safe and Sane Fireworks program. The topic of whether to continue the Safe and Sane Fireworks program was discussed. Community members complaining about illegal firework activity occurring during the July 4th period spoke, with some opposed to continuing the program. Numerous community members affiliated with non-profit groups in Pacifica spoke in favor of continuing the program as Safe and Sane Fireworks revenue is the primary source of revenue each year for the non-profit groups. Also discussed was the possibility of posing the question of whether to continue the program to the voters in November 2020 as an advisory vote. It was also suggested that a polling effort could gauge the opinion of the community.
Specifically addressing the concern of the loss of revenue to the non-profit groups should the Safe and Sane Fireworks be discontinued, Council provided direction to staff to research convening a community group or task force of non-profit group members for the purpose of researching alternate funding sources.
January 27, 2020
Staff returned to City Council and presented a report on this issue. In this report, staff recognized that numerous representatives of non-profit groups spoke at the September 23, 2019 Council study session and were adamant regarding the importance of funding from fireworks sales. This raised the important question whether there are any incentives for a non-profit group to participate in a task force designed to assist in the elimination of the revenue funding source they have already proclaimed they need to sustain their activities. A second point presented by staff related to the competition for funding sources that could be faced by non-profit groups if revenue from Safe and Sane Fireworks sales is no longer realized. Groups competing for funding sources would have no incentive to share information about funding sources with each other. Because of this, placing them in a group with the intention of sharing research and funding sources would likely not be productive.
As an alternative approach, the City Council directed the following at the recommendation of the City Manager:
- Utilize the FlashVote tool to gauge the opinion of the community regarding the continuation of the Safe and Sane Fireworks program.
- Communication from staff to the non-profit groups in the form of a questionnaire to better understand the governing structure of the groups and their revenue situation related to fireworks sales.
- Report back to Council the results of the FlashVote survey and non-profit questionnaires.
History of Community Discussion and Past Ballot Measures
There is a history of discussion regarding whether or not to continue with the Safe and Sane fireworks program in Pacifica. Advisory ballot measures were placed on the ballot addressing this question in 1983 and 1996.
1.In November 1983, Measure I was placed on the ballot with the following language:
“Shall the City of Pacifica adopt an ordinance amending its Municipal Code
to prohibit the sale and use of all fireworks in the City of Pacifica in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 Uniform Fire Code?”
Voters expressed majority support to continue the program with 38% (1,587 voters) voting to end the program and 62% (2,641 voters) voting to continue fireworks sales.
In November 1996, Measure W was placed on the ballot with the following language:
“Shall the City of Pacifica amend its Municipal Code to prohibit the sale and use of State-approved fireworks in the City of Pacifica?”
Voters expressed majority support for the fireworks program with 30% (4,582 voters) voting to end the program and 70% (10,744 voters) voting to continue fireworks sales.
In recent years the discussion has continued, prompted by community complaints regarding the magnitude of illegal fireworks around the July 4th holiday, as well as environmental concerns due to litter left behind by both illegal and Safe and Sane fireworks. Environmental concerns are also raised due to concerns of fireworks debris reaching the ocean. Community concerns have also included the risk of fire with the use of all types of fireworks. In recent years, wildfires in Northern California have increased the discussion of fire risk. The most common complaint from community members is the loud noise generated by illegal fireworks. Large scale firecracker type devices as well as mortar type fireworks that create colorful displays in the sky are commonly used in Pacifica on July 4th and produce loud noise.
History of Task Forces
There have been 3 task forces formed at the direction of City Council since 2008 to address fireworks issues. A Task Force in 2008 dealt with both the use of illegal and Safe and Sane fireworks. In 2013, a Task Force addressed issues relating to Safe and Sane fireworks, concentrating on environmental issues. In 2017, an Illegal Fireworks Task Force was formed to specifically address concerns related to illegal fireworks. The following is a summary of the work and outcome of each Task Force.
2008 Pacifica Fireworks Task Force
On November 26, 2007, City Council adopted a resolution creating a Fireworks Task Force and appointing members. The Task Force, led by then Police Chief Jim Saunders, was created to address increasing problems with illegal fireworks use in Pacifica. The work of the Task Force resulted in the adoption of a revised fireworks ordinance (Article 2 Chapter 3 of Title 4 of the Pacifica Municipal Code). The ordinance was adopted on June 9, 2008. The ordinance limited the times when people were permitted to use Safe and Sane fireworks to between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. from June 29 to July 5. Violators of this time restriction could receive administrative fine citations of $200 for the first offense, $400 for the second, and $1,000 for the third.
Also codified was a $1,000 administrative fine for possession or ignition of illegal fireworks. This new administrative fine was dubbed the “Ouch” fine by the Police Department in community outreach materials, as $1,000 is viewed as a painful fine.
California Health and Safety Code section 12677 prohibits the possession of any dangerous fireworks without a permit (non-Safe and Sane fireworks). Any person who violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be punished by a fine ranging from $500 and $1000 and/or imprisonment in the county jail up to a year. Prior to the ordinance allowing a $1,000 administrative fine for possession of dangerous fireworks, Police Department staff relied on the use of this Health and Safety Code section for enforcement. Staff found that in most cases, these misdemeanor cases were reduced in court to infractions, with the penalty being a fine. This process was burdensome and time consuming, with officers often being subpoenaed to court several times prior to the case reaching disposition. This also created added overtime expenditures for officers to attend court. Following the adoption of this ordinance, officers began issuing administrative fines in almost all cases versus issuing a criminal citation. This practice continues today.
2013 Pacifica Fireworks Task Force
Following the July 4, 2012 holiday, staff and City Council received renewed complaints regarding fireworks in Pacifica. Concern was expressed regarding the use of fireworks (both illegal and Safe and Sane) and their impact on beaches, particularly the effect of toxic litter from fireworks on the beaches, ocean and wildlife. At the October 8, 2012 City Council meeting, staff presented a list of potential actions to address these concerns. Options presented included identifying specific areas to ignite Safe and Sane Fireworks, banning Safe and Sane fireworks on beaches and banning the sale/use of these fireworks in Pacifica. At the December 10, 2012 City Council meeting, an initial option of banning Safe and Sane fireworks was removed from consideration. City Council cited previous advisory ballot measures that strongly supported the continuation of the program as reasoning for removal of that option. City Council directed staff to bring back a resolution creating a Fireworks Task Force to recommend further options.
On February 11, 2013, City Council adopted a resolution creating a Fireworks Task Force and appointed Task Force members. This task force was led by then Chief of Police Jim Tasa. On June 24, 2013, an Urgency Ordinance was adopted by City Council as a result of the work of this Task Force. The ordinance specified a specific portion of Linda Mar Beach where Safe and Sane fireworks may be ignited, prohibiting fireworks on all other beaches. In addition, the recommendations of the Task Force resulted in the City providing two additional areas where Safe and Sane fireworks could be ignited on the 4th of July. City staff closes the south Linda Mar Beach lot (pump house) and the south Rockaway Beach lot (Surfer’s Lot) for use by persons using Safe and Sane fireworks. Debris boxes are placed in these areas by Recology of the Coast to allow for appropriate waste disposal.
Also implemented was an enhanced beach clean-up program. Non-profit groups granted Agenda fireworks permits are required to complete 10 hours of beach clean-up on July 5th, and 10 hours on one additional scheduled Saturday, coinciding with a Pacific Beach Coalition clean-up event. A community-wide anti-littering campaign was established to encourage responsible disposal of fireworks refuse. Posters and flyers are distributed to schools, local businesses, fireworks stands, beach garbage receptacles, and are promoted via City social media platforms. The above processes remain in effect today.
2017 Pacifica Fireworks Task Force
At a City Council meeting on September 26, 2016, in response to renewed community concerns over illegal fireworks use, City Council provided direction to staff on the creation of an Illegal Fireworks Task Force, which was created to recommend enforcement strategies to combat illegal fireworks and public outreach strategies to educate and deter the possession and use of illegal fireworks. In addition, City Council directed staff to return with a Social Host Ordinance regarding possession or discharge of illegal fireworks. This ordinance holds a property owner or person in control of the property liable for a $1000 administrative fine for discharge of illegal fireworks from the property, regardless of who discharged the firework. This ordinance was designed to discourage illegal use of fireworks on private property, commonly in residential backyards. In the 1990’s, illegal fireworks were prominent on the beaches in Pacifica. In response, the Police Department conducted heavy enforcement on the beaches, particularly Linda Mar Beach, which over the course of several years moved the illegal firework problem predominately into Pacifica neighborhoods, creating the need for a Social Host Ordinance. On May 22, 2017, City Council adopted amendments to the fireworks ordinance, adding the Social Host component.
On June 17, 2017 the City Council approved the recommendations of the Task Force, which included:
- Implementation of a Smart Phone application to report firework violations
- Soliciting online tips regarding fireworks violations
- Pre-July 4th contact of habitual fireworks violators by officers
- Concentration of officers in problem areas (rather than spreading staff out and answering each individual fireworks call)
- Increasing community outreach via school, PCT 26, Chamber of Commerce, social media platforms and community organizations
- Promoting the Social Host Ordinance via the “Host a Show, Pay the Dough” campaign
Following the implementation of these strategies, some problem neighborhoods reported less illegal activity, while some reported more activity. Via postings on social media platforms, the culture in certain areas of Pacifica was apparent with many community members making comments relating to the use of illegal fireworks such as “This is what we do on the 4th, it’s only one day, deal with it.” The Police Department continues to use the strategies implemented by the 2017 Illegal Fireworks Task Force.
Staff reached out via email to 12 non-profits groups that had received permits over a three year period to sell Safe and Sane Fireworks. As staff is aware leadership changes from time to time in these non-profit groups, questionnaires were emailed using present and past contact information for each group. This included contacts for the 2020 fireworks season, all of which had responded to staff emails regarding fireworks sales in May/June of 2020. Questionnaires with a deadline for responses were sent on October 16, 2020, November 3, 2020 and December 15, 2020. Of the 12 groups queried, only 6 responded. Staff received an email from a 7th group in mid-January that asked if it was too late to respond. Staff advised the group to respond and their answers would be included in this report. Staff did not receive any further communication from the group. The returned questionnaires are included with this report as Attachment A. The following questions were asked:
1) What form of governing body does your organization utilize to make decisions, and who is the leadership of your organization?
All groups identified a board or committee as their organizational leadership.
2) Has your organization discussed/considered alternative funding sources, and if so, what potential sources were considered? Did you receive input from the entire membership?
Four of the six responding groups stated they had considered alternative funding and had been unable to identify other sources.
3) If the Safe and Sane Fireworks program were to end, what would your organization do to make up the lost revenue?
Five of the six responding groups provided no alternative to making up the lost revenue and stated programs/activities would be reduced or end.
4) If your organization requires participation fees, how much would these fees need to increase per participant to match the level of funding the Safe and Sane Fireworks program raiser for your group?
Three of the six responding groups stated they would need to increase fees. Two identified the increase as $25-40/year, and the third identified fees of $150- 275/year and other costs of $350-600/year.
5) Please comment on anything else your organization would like the City to know regarding the issue of whether or not to continue the Safe and Sane Fireworks program.
Comments were provided supporting Safe and Sane fireworks as an important source of funding for non-profit organizations. One group questioned why the City requires non-profit groups to conduct beach clean-up after the July 4th holiday.
The intent of the questionnaire was to determine if the non-profit groups had a structure in place to make decisions, what considerations had been had given to replacement of Safe and Sane fireworks revenue should the program end, and what the fiscal impact of the loss of revenue would be to each organization.
The results of the questionnaire indicate that the non-profit groups have a leadership structure in place that makes decisions. Results indicate that the decision making bodies had not been able to identify alternative funding sources, however, none of the responding groups provided information as to what alternative sources had been considered as requested. Half of the groups stated they would be required to increase participation fees if Safe and Sane fireworks sales ended.
Staff had previously indicated a concern to City Council regarding the incentive for a non-profit group to participate in a process that could ultimately lead to the end of the Safe and Sane Fireworks program. Staff believes this is likely the case with this questionnaire given only 50% of the groups queried responded to repeated requests to complete the questionnaire.
Staff utilized the FlashVote survey tool to query the community regarding the topic of Safe and Sane fireworks. FlashVote sends invites to community members via phone, emails and texts to participate in surveys. Any community member can participate. The methodology employed by FlashVote is to reach a broad cross-section of the community rather than just the few who speak out regularly on an issue. Once establishing a broad cross-section of community members, polls can be conducted. FlashVote works with City staff to carefully design the polling questions and sends the questions regarding the topic to participants. As this tool invites any and all individual participants in the community, the results are likely to be statistically representative of community opinion.
The results of the Flash Vote survey that was sent to community participants regarding this issue are included in this report as Attachment B. The results provided in Attachment B are reflective of 341 participants that are local residents (“locals only”) with Pacifica addresses.
The first question of the survey described what Safe and Sane fireworks are, and which fireworks are prohibited by State law. Of those participating, 91.5% stated they were aware of fireworks restrictions in Pacifica, with 5.6% responding they were not aware of any fireworks restrictions.
The second question centered on the main topic of this discussion, whether to continue to allow Safe and Sane fireworks. Participants favored allowing Safe and Sane fireworks at a rate of 48.4%, with 38.4% stating no fireworks should be allowed. The remaining responses reflected that 8.5% thought ALL fireworks should be allowed, with 4.7%. of respondents selecting “Other” and could write in comments, which provided a mixed group of responses. Written responses indicated some were in support of the non-profit groups that sell Safe and Sane fireworks and some in support of a City fireworks show.
The third question informed participants that the profits from Safe and Sane fireworks benefited non-profit groups, providing a major source of revenue. Participants, at a rate of 85.2% advised they already knew this, and it did not change their opinion on Safe and Sane fireworks. Of those who answered they were not aware of this, 6.5% felt more favorable to fireworks sales while 7.1% said it didn’t change their opinion.
The fourth question provided several options to choose from regarding the use of Safe and Sane fireworks. Participants could select all responses that applied. Highlights of the results are as follows:
53.6% thought Safe and Sane fireworks create a litter problem
52.0% thought Safe and Sane fireworks are fun to watch and use
48.9% thought having some legal fireworks made it harder to enforce illegal firework violations
46.4% thought fireworks are an important part of celebrating the 4th of July
41.4% thought Safe and Sane fireworks are dangerous to use
A fifth open-ended question allowing participants to express their thoughts resulted in a wide range of comments. A high number of comments reflected frustration over the use of illegal fireworks in Pacifica. Litter and fire safety concerns were expressed by many participants. Numerous participants suggested the City host a fireworks show for the community. Some participants expressed support for non-profit groups selling Safe and Sane fireworks.
While community opinions and comments from this survey serve to allow staff and City Council the opportunity to view a more complete picture around community thoughts on Safe and Sane fireworks, the primary question regarding continuing Safe and Sane fireworks reflected a 10% difference. A finding in the survey was 8.5% of participants felt that ALL fireworks should be allowed. Staff has reported to City Council in previous years regarding the culture in certain areas of Pacifica where residents have expressed their support of illegal fireworks, which is reflected in 8.5% of participants. “ALL” fireworks include Safe and Sane fireworks, which when combined with those supporting only Safe and Sane fireworks, equates to 56.9% of participants in support of the Safe and Sane variety. In contrast, 38.4% felt no fireworks should be allowed.
Results of this survey reflect a high percentage of people are aware of the restrictions on the use of fireworks in Pacifica, are aware of the funding the program provides non-profit groups, and support by 56.9% to 38.4% the continuation of the program.
The survey tool allows staff to view results from all 445 participants, which includes those not providing addresses and those not invited to the survey, but participating via a link to the survey. When viewing those results, they are close to the ”locals only” sample as 49% thought only Safe and Sane fireworks should be allowed, while 38.3% thought no fireworks should be allowed. When considering the 8.4% of participants that thought ALL fireworks should be allowed, this percentage moves to 57.4% in favor of Safe and Sane fireworks.
Potential City Council Direction
The City Manager and Police Chief provide the following synopsis to help guide the Council’s deliberation on this matter. As summarized above, the issue of Safe and Sane Fireworks has been deliberated about and actively worked on for 40 years or more of Pacifica’s history, including two ballot measures that affirmed the community’s desire to continue the program, and three task forces to refine the program and make it as safe, clean and enforceable as possible. Now in 2021, this report provides the latest iteration of City staff work and data gathering.
The FlashVote tool was used as a cost-effective method of measuring community opinion in as statistically representative manner as possible without doing a traditional voter survey that would cost approximately $25,000. The results are informative on numerous questions as explained above, with the bottom line indicating a 19% spread between those that want the Safe and Sane program to continue over those that oppose it.
Although the Council could decide to put a measure on the ballot and receive an actual voter decision on this matter, doing so for November 2021 would be at an estimated expense to the City of approximately $200,000 plus staff time (estimate based on County elections estimates for the 2019 special election). The Council Elections Office disclaimer about estimating elections costs is that they are difficult to estimate since no two elections are alike with costs and the number of registered voters varying considerably from election to election. Cost estimates can also vary based on the number of jurisdictions participating in an election. Staff has requested updated estimates from the County for 2021, but has not received them at the time of this report release. There is no guarantee a ballot measure results would be the same as the FlashVote survey results, one way or the other, since ballot measures involve campaigning. So, one option, but an expensive one, is for the Council to submit this matter to the ballot box.
However, the City Council has the authority to amend City code and prohibit the Safe and Sane fireworks program without a ballot measure. The FlashVote results show that approximately half of the public is concerned about litter caused from the program, recognize the program makes it more difficult for police to enforce illegal fireworks, and that fireworks are dangerous and pose some level of fire risk. However, similar numbers think they’re fun and an important part of celebrating Independence Day. It is important to note that even if the Safe and Sane program is prohibited, illegal fireworks will continue to be used and enforcement and fire-risk challenges will continue. The City will need to budget annually for the overtime expense incurred around Independence Day, approximately $35,000, since the program revenues won’t be available to cover this expense.
Regarding the topic of non-profit organizations that benefit financially from the sale of Safe and Sane fireworks, it is clear that these organizations do not have an incentive to work on alternative fundraising options as long as this easy source of revenue is available. The fact that only 6 out of the 12 organizations responded to the questionnaire, despite repeated attempts to get them to respond, could be interpreted to indicate a neutral opinion about the matter. Those that did respond, as summarized above, have not explored alternative funding strategies. This is to be expected, as why would they do so when this easy source of revenue is available? Therefore, another option for the Council is to decide that the program will end in some future year, giving time for the non-profits to reinvent their fund-raising strategies.
It was previously suggested that the City could convene a task force of non-profit representatives to work on alternative fund-raising strategies for non-profits. Staff reported back to the Council in January 2020 that this approach is likely to be inherently counter-productive since the non-profits are competing against each other for funding sources. This option would be time consuming for City staff with likely unproductive results, as supported by only half of the non-profits even bothering to respond to the City’s questionnaire. However, it does remain an option for the Council, although not one recommended by the City Manager given the many priority issues on which the City’s staff resources currently are focused.
Councilmembers may come up with other alternatives and direct the City Manager to pursue them. Depending on what the other ideas may be, and how time-consuming they may be, the Council may wish to consider their decision within the context of the City’s annual goal-setting process and the many priorities on which the Council desires to focus financial and staff resources.
Provide staff further direction other than what is listed.
RELATION TO CITY COUNCIL GOALS AND WORK PLAN:
This item relates to the Council Goal “Maintaining a Safe Community,” and the 2020-2021 City Council priority to “Complete further study of the Safe and Sane Legal Fireworks program.”
Should the City Council elect to end the Safe and Sane fireworks program, a loss of $34,675 (5 year average) in revenue from the 8% fireworks safety fee would be incurred.
February 22, 2021 City Council Meeting
The conversation between council and staff continued at this meeting with a report from Chief Steidle beginning on page 37. He discusses the barriers to locating the illegal fireworks and explains the tactic they took last year to try to manage enforcement:
Chief Steidle stated that the way they approach their fireworks enforcement, he agreed it was with challenges. He stated that there was a certain culture in certain areas of the city, and it is shown on social media that this is what we are and what we do. He read it verbatim many times where it says “we do it one night a year, deal with it.” He stated if you look in the hot spot areas, you see how prevalent the illegal fireworks problem is and what the police departments face in terms of enforcement. He stated that, aside from what they are seeing exploding in the sky all over the place, it looks like it is mostly a professional fireworks show at the south end of town. He stated that they deal with about 155 calls for service regarding illegal fireworks during the peak hours of 7pm to midnight, as well as all the other calls for service that they have to deal with. They are also looking around and seeing for themselves what is going on within illegal fireworks. He stated that the last year, they shifted their enforcement strategy a bit and they weren’t responding to every call for service for fireworks, but were putting the information on their screen to use it for intelligence to pinpoint more exactly where the illegal fireworks were coming that they were seeing. The challenge is that, with the large scale fireworks that take place in the neighborhoods, there are spotters there with walkie-talkies and ways to communicate, and police come to the area and then the activity stops, even when they are in unmarked vehicles which the utilize on July 4. He stated that they can only drive an unmarked vehicle so many times through the neighborhood before the spotters figure out that it is the police in the vehicles. They state that, as soon as they leave the neighborhood, the fireworks start up again. They also deal with the challenges in the street with safe and sane fireworks going off and those being used to hide the illegal fireworks which is an issue. He stated that when they are enforcing fireworks, they are using the administrative fine and it is not the criminal section but for both of those, regardless of which one they use as enforcement mechanism, if it is in a public area, the officer has to see the violation occur, who is holding the device or who discharged the device to establish possession and criminally cite or write the administration citation for the $1,000 fine. He stated that the difference is that, in that requirement, when they talk about it coming from private property or an area where there is a gathering, whoever owns the property or is in control of that property, they can issue a citation to the property owner regardless of whether they saw it or not. He stated that, if they see the candle come out of the backyard, it doesn’t matter who launched it so they can just site the person in charge of the property. He stated that the main issue is the number of fireworks we have going on, as many communities have the issues that we have. He stated that with the calls coming in and fireworks going off all over the place, there is no way they can address them all. He stated that the strategy they have been employing over the last year or two is focusing on certain neighborhoods, bring staff into those areas, write citations and move on to the next problem area. He stated that it was a matter of being overwhelmed by the amount of activity going on and of having to see the violation in most instances.
….. from July 4 at 7 pm to July 5 at 2 am, they had 155 calls for service.
What about the City of Pacifica putting on a fireworks show?
Chief Steidle stated that, regarding professional fireworks display, with all our hillsides and brush, one would surmise that they were probably looking at something pointing toward the ocean. He stated that it would likely require a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission which have been issued in the past in this state. If they would need a CDP depends on the details of the event, location, if there is temporary construction involved, beach access restrictions, size of attendees. He stated that, in the past, when coastal development permits have been required, the Coastal Commission looks to ensure that the impacts to species are minimized and best management practices are incorporated to reduce trash. He stated that the Coastal Commission component was important and receiving information from a deputy chief from the North County Fire Authority, they would have to have permits from the Fire Department as well as likely the state. The Fire Marshall and Fire Department would have to be on scene to assure that the event will be safe such as winds, etc. and regarding extra staffing, they already have extra staffing because of the fire danger due to fireworks. He stated that they would probably need at least one extra engine that would have to be at the scene to monitor what is going on. He stated that this type of event is likely to draw thousands of people, not just Pacificans but people from all over who want to see it so they have issues of public safety and medical issues that occur so there would be personnel there. And, in terms of the cost with a very rough estimate, the website has a kind of cafeteria plan and he asked what he was looking for, how long such as a 10-minute display, 20-minutes display, etc. Do they want lights, music, etc.? He stated that the general rule of thumb he saw in several locations was they could be looking up to $2,000 or more per minute. Most municipal professional fireworks displays cost anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on what they want. He stated that it would have to be extensively researched to come up with a real number and this was just a ballpark on both ends. He stated that he thought about things they talked about in this meeting regarding law enforcement response to the issues they have. He would like to think about thousands of people coming into the town and what this would likely draw. He stated that Foster City holds an event nearly every year but didn’t last year because of Covid-19 concerns, but when they hold their public fireworks display, they reach out for mutual aid from law enforcement agencies all over the county because they need a lot of people to control the traffic because the report from the 2019 event said that there were thousands of pedestrians and vehicles present because of that event. He stated that, assuming that they are talking about an event occurring west of Highway 1 and they know the main and only egress in and out of the city and to get where the event is going to be, they are all going to be on Highway 1. He stated that when the event prepares to start, traffic will be getting bad but the worst part will be when everyone is trying to leave at the same time. He could only imagine what that would do to Highway 1 and the number of staff they would need to get traffic controlled and deal with any crowds. He stated that it would depend on how many people would be attending the event and he thought it would be safe to say they would have quite a number of people from outside our area that would want to see a fireworks show as the survey showed, fireworks are cool and that is what people want to see. When thinking of putting a plan together to make it work, the next thing you think of is who is going to handle the 190 calls for service that are going on during peak hours if all their personnel are dealing with this major show along with traffic. He is saying that it is not impossible to do if Council wanted to look into that, however, there will be significant challenges based on the geography of Pacifica and the number of staff that it would take to put something like this on, given that we are already taxed to our maximum for calls for service on a night like that.
Chief Steidle stated that in 2019, the total cost for police, fire and Public Works was $32,700 and 8% fee brought in $33,000 and that was the first year they were actually over. The previous years, they usually ran $3,000-$4,000 deficits in terms of what they were spending.