Here’s an excerpt from the July 9, 2012 Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting. During his report to council, Development Director Mike Cassidy said, “Another beautiful 4th of July celebration that certainly draws a huge crowd for our area. It’s just amazing. I think people continue to talk about a community this size can put on a program of fireworks that’s that good and enjoyed by so many people. I heard an estimate that there may have been 7 – 8,000 people at the state dock on Tuesday night. So, uh … we started thinking about making that into a little bit more of a festival and I think that’s something we need to follow through on. And uh …(read this next part carefully) I don’t think we’ve done a real good job of collecting money to contribute to the fireworks from as many people as were there so if we all pull together I think that will happen.”
A really awesome idea went through my head while listening to this meeting tape especially because I know Buckeye Lake Mayor Rick Baker shares Mr. Cassidy’s views. In fact, most Buckeye Lake council members have let me know that they could do a far better job. I was thinking with all the extra time Toby Miller will have when he becomes full-time, he can be in charge of all the fireworks committees. That way he can really earn that $45,000 annual salary that Buckeye Lake officials think he deserves. So I made a conscious decision I think Beacon readers will love as much as I do.
Maybe I should just close down the 501(c) 3 for BLASST and turn the whole thing over to BUCKEYE LAKE VILLAGE. They might have enough time to come up with a new name and get a new checking account and have a big old festival to go with it by next 4th of July. Of course, if you have a festival there is another document you have to get from the IRS because festivals are NOT tax exempt. Your donors won’t be able to write their donations off their taxes, but that might not be problem. Keep in mind you’ll have a lot of unseen expenses – liability insurance, traffic control, litter cleanup and portable toilets. There’s also a lot of cooperation and coordination with other departments and government entities. But that shouldn’t be a problem for Buckeye Lake Village. Somebody – maybe council members – will need to start picking up trash at both parks early the next morning. It will be big fun and profitable for you all.
I’ll give you some tips even though you are all outstanding business people. You need to carry a minimum (with a festival probably more) a five MILLION dollar liability policy on your event. I think it would be called a 501(c) 2 classified as a FOR PROFIT event, which will be costly, but I’d get the best attorney you can afford to get those documents right. You are going to need someone to sign the contract with Hamburg Fireworks early next year. That part will be tricky since you won’t know whether donors will trust you enough to make a donation that isn’t tax deductible.
Your village has out shined most other villages. I mean your fire and police departments run circles around all others. Your zoning makes it easy for businesses to open and prosper there. After using federal grant money to knock down some of Karen’s bad builds, I expect she would repay the favor by hosting some of the festival rent-free on her property. I know that Charlene has a huge following of people behind her who will be the first in line to volunteer for everything.
On top of all that, the fire department association can now sell food right in the middle of the park instead of just outside. However I doubt they will make much more money than they already have, since they have been the only vendor to sell anything for the last three or four years? They will save their $100 BLASST donation right off the bat. Also all those village property owners who charged for parking this year can do it guilt free. Oops, my mistake, I forgot they never had any quilt in the first place because frankly where is the profit in being community minded?
Now I know the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club and John Sproat will be critical to your success. BLYC is the most community minded place on the lake and they will help in every way they can. Some past governors and commodores have been outstanding business people. They know how to make big money for doing nothing and that’s a talent.
Then all you have to do is clear it with Hal Harper and the chain of command all the way to the top of ODNR and you’re good to go. I did forgot one thing. You’re going to have to gain the trust of John Fredrick Wolfe to get Dad’s annual bequest for the fireworks, but with your record I’m sure that’s not a problem. One heads up…the bequest requires an agreement that the trustee can inspect your books at any time. So a good accountant will be important. May I suggest Fred Baer? He was very helpful to BLASST. He also does the books for the Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society; I’m sure he will take on one more!
I feel as though I left a thousand things out, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the learning experience as much as I did. One more thing – it would probably be a good idea to line up someone living in the village with deep pockets to pick up the bills if donors don’t like this idea as much as I do. Remember too, that donors will quickly disappear if there is even a hint of misuse of money.
My best and blessings to you and yours. Good luck with your new adventure.
P.S. Thanks for giving me all this free time. I will use it to sell everything I can think of to make myself a profit for a change. I’m so excited for us all.