FIREWORKS: FEES IN, FINES UP

fight2-070310Several fights broke out among teenagers gathered at Broad and West Front streets at the 2010 fireworks. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A waterfront view of this year’s Kaboom fireworks is going to cost you. So will acting out of line.

Following the recommendations of the provisional Kaboom! Task Force, the borough council intends to charge for seating at borough-owned waterfront property — the library, Riverside Gardens Park and Marine Park.

The fee, which hasn’t been established, would help the fireworks committee raise money for the $250,000 display and cover the borough’s expenses for police enforcement and cleanup efforts, Administrator Stanley Sickels said.

In an effort to curtail the number of alcohol-related incidents and “shenanigans,” Red Bank will also bring in more cops and increase fines for offenses including disorderly conduct, urinating in public and having an open container of alcohol, said Councilman Michael DuPont.

The end goal is crowd control, Sickels said.

By charging for premium views and tightening security, Sickels said the fireworks show can be restored to the family-oriented event it’s known for.

“We want to make sure it will continue that way, so we need to rope in some of the craziness that dominated last year,” Sickels said. “A lot of people really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the actions of a few tainted the impression of many.”

Last year’s fireworks were marred by pockets of violence and a string of alcohol-related incidents. By charging for waterfront spots, the borough will be able to hire additional help from police. It will also cover the $60,000 need for regular police and public works services, which the council removed from last year’s budget.

“We’re looking to make the borough whole,” he said.

The council will work with the KaBoom! and Special Events committees to iron out the details of the changes ahead, Sickels said. He anticipates the council to formally adopt any changes in about two months.