WAXHAW, N.C. – UPDATE: The Waxhaw Board of Commissioners voted to schedule all events next year except for the Fourth of July fireworks show.
The town will not have the show because of the growing population and having to find a new site.
Waxhaw proposes eliminating 'must-have' holiday events for families
Holiday wreaths are already hung around downtown Waxhaw, but this may be the last year for some Christmastime activities, which include free carriage rides and Santa riding through neighborhoods.
“Lots of kids like Santa, and I just think that if they didn’t see Santa come through their neighborhood, it would just take away some of the spirit,” 10-year-old Mason Johnson said.
Town commissioners will discuss a proposal Tuesday night that also eliminates Fourth of July fireworks and the annual Easter egg hunt, among other changes.
“(It’s) very disappointing,” Pam James said. “I really don’t understand the background and reasoning behind it. It makes no sense at all.”
Results from a recent community survey show holiday festivities and the Fourth of July celebration ranked high in the “cannot live without” category.
The proposed changes altogether amount to a savings of $36,000. That makes up only 0.3% of the town’s $11.6 million budget. Mayor Stephen Maher told Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster the proposed changes are not about saving money. He said town staff reviews events every year.
“We will look at the event program and give you the maximum amount of events we can do within the constraints that we have from a town growth, safety and effectiveness perspective,” Maher said.
The Union County town continues to grow, and it has done so by 73 percent in the last eight years. That is one of the reasons that makes some of these events more difficult, the mayor said.
Residents see the other side.
“With our tax base continuing to grow, with so many people moving here, there’s nonstop building everywhere,” resident Michael Sigmond said. “It surprises me those are things they’re looking at cutting.”
If commissioners vote “no” to the proposed changes on Tuesday, Maher said they may be part of an ongoing discussion into the next season in the spring.
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