At a special Delta City Council meeting held on June 9, the city council voted in favor of allowing the Delta Volunteer Fire Department to put on its regular Independence Day fireworks show at Confluence Park. The motion to allow the show passed 3-2.
Council members Kevin Carlson, Ryan Crick and Mark Broome voted in favor of Delta holding the annual event, while Mayor Nathan Clay and Councilwoman Cathy Boyd voted against it.
Carlson spoke in favor of the event first, saying “It’s time for people to have their choice. There’s enough information out there on this issue.”
Broome agreed. “There comes a time when we either have to be brave and take responsibility, like Kevin has stated over and over again, people are adults,” he said.
Clay’s “no” vote differed from his previous take on the matter at the June 2 council meeting, when he stood up for the show. “We call ourselves fiercely Colorado,” he said at the time. “We talk about being very independent thinking, and I believe that we are.”
Clay made this statement after Delta Police Chief Luke Fedler made a recommendation before council against the event, worried that the chaos of people coming from other towns would be too much for law enforcement to handle and that social distancing would be impossible to enforce.
At the June 9 special meeting, Clay expressed concern for the Delta Police Department following Fedler’s recommendation. “I personally have qualms about going against a majority of that advice,” he said.
Clay also voiced his concern that holding the show would create contradiction in Delta, since regulations still limit crowds in businesses and social distancing is still recommended. With that, the Fourth of July fireworks show would certainly draw a crowd that would far exceed state recommendations.
“The reality of the situation is we’re the only party in town,” Clay said. “You can’t be the only party in town and let everybody know that you’re the only party in town and not expect a (darn) big party.”
Crick and Boyd were both less certain in their decisions, but they ultimately voted different ways after weighing the pros and cons.
Crick, who voted in favor of the show, urged all attendees to be safe and to keep COVID-19 in mind. Boyd admitted that she’d heard overwhelming approval of the show from the community, but she was worried about COVID-19 spiking.
“If we would happen to have a spike in our COVID cases, would we have to go back to square one?” Boyd asked, to which Clay replied, “Why would we, in my mind, even test that?”
After the council narrowly passed the motion to allow the fire department to order the show, Clay reemphasized that there won’t be anything officials would be able to do to enforce social-distancing rules, but he hoped people will be smart about gatherings.
“We will have it in the City of Delta and encourage everyone, as it’s been stated, that this relies on personal responsibility,” Clay said.