As you know from my prior budget posts, the City’s 2011 fiscal plan included a wide range of cost-cutting measures. One of these was the elimination of funding for various community celebrations, in the hope that private contributions could sustain these events. It’s not a new concept — the annual Thanksgiving Parade has been sponsored by John and Charles Valenti for several years — but we have extended this model now to our Memorial Day Parade and Independence Day Fireworks, thereby adding to the City’s fund-raising challenge.

Well, I am happy to report that our community partners are rising to the occasion. The first big donation came from Monroe College, which has agreed to fund the expenses associated with the 2011 Memorial Day Parade. Monroe joins several other local businesses that have already been sponsors of this great event. Veterans groups remain the chief organizers, donating extraordinary time and energy to the Parade and associated ceremonies. All have my sincere thanks for their generosity and spirit of service.

The Memorial Day Parade takes place on Monday, May 30, starting at 10:30 am at Memorial Plaza. The parade finishes at Hudson Park with a waterfront ceremony and picnic featuring the West Point concert band and a landing of a Marine Corps Osprey helicopter.

Several major local institutions and businesses have already made commitments in support of the July 4th Fireworks, and I am confident that the City will reach its fund-raising goal, but we’re not quite there yet. More on this, including a grateful reference to specific donors, in a future post.