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KABOOMFEST PAYS ITS DEBT TO RED BANK

kick-in-kaboomersKaBoom volunteers making their way through the crowd with donations pails at Riverside Gardens Park in 2009. That’s KaBoom chairman Charles Moran at left.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a couple months before the 2011 edition of Red Bank’s fireworks show is set to blast off from the Navesink, the Kaboomfest committee has paid off the balance from last year’s display and is getting ready for a somewhat revamped show for Independence Day weekend.

This time, though, officials, citing what they believe is a more sustainable fundraising model, don’t anticipate carrying a balance owed to Red Bank into 2012.

“No, we don’t,” Kaboom Chairman Charles Moran told redbankgreen. “Our budget includes being able to pay Red Bank this year.”

Bringing on major corporate sponsors like Meridian Health (owner of Riverview Medical Center) and Wells Fargo, plus charging for premium views of the show, are among the top factors in being able to clear the ledger on time, Moran said.

Moran said other big name sponsors won’t be announced until later this month, but says they, along with the typical solicitations of attendees and a newly-implemented fee for waterfront views, puts the committee in a better position to raise the approximate $250,000 for the fireworks.

Kaboom had, until last week, owed the borough $32,000 for police and public works support.

“The understanding is that the lag is not going to continue,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “If this business model for handling Kaboom is successful, then that lag will not happen.”

Last year, the borough pulled out of its normal $60,000 contribution for the show to provide public works for cleanup efforts and police for safety and security. It’ll do the same this year, leaving the committee to fully fund borough services, he said.

“It’s self-funded,” Menna said. “We’re not contributing a penny.”

Menna said he’s meeting with Kaboom committee members today to talk about sponsorships and other details of the July 3 show.

With the path clear for another year of pyrotechnics over the Navesink, Rumson can start planning its show, which mirrors Red Bank’s.

Considering the financial and other problems associated with last year’s display, and the formation of the ad-hoc task force late last year, Rumson officials were in doubt whether a Red Bank show would go on this year.

Last week, after talking to Kaboom members, Mayor John Ekdahl said the borough, which normally begins its private appeals in March, will plan for its fourth year of fireworks in Rumson so long as Red Bank is doing the same.

“When that happens we’ll crank up our fundraising efforts and coordination with Red Bank,” Ekdahl said.

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