If there are going to be community fireworks in New Paltz this year, no one in the Town Hall trailers know anything about it. Fireworks events are no longer a Town concern, and haven’t been since before a pandemic resulting in there being no explosions to terrify pets, children and PTSD sufferers for at least the last couple of years. The event, held at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, had been organized by a Town committee and funded entirely by donations, but eventually that volunteer base dissolved and the work fell onto the shoulders of the supervisor’s confidential secretary. Supervisor Neil Bettez severed that last connection to the Town payroll, passing on the work and the remaining donations.
The question was put to Town Council members during public comment at the June 16 meeting. Stana Weisburd, acknowledging the poorly-enforced policy of not engaging in dialogue during public comment, asked for an exception in this case, as do many others who choose to comment during that portion of the meeting. In acceding to the argument for special treatment, the supervisor explained that Town employees are not involved in planning any fireworks and that the event is run by volunteers. “I don’t know what they’re doing,” said Bettez. “My guess is nothing.”