December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake officials say fireworks supplier short-changed city

AVON LAKE — It turns out the city did not get the full bang for its buck at this year’s fireworks display.

According to Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka, the city solicited three quotes this year from fireworks companies before deciding to pay Indiana-based Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions $14,000 to set off 1,853 shells.

Zilka said members of the Fire Department counted only 709 shells.

“That’s a substantial difference,” Zilka said. “We asked what we could get for $14,000 and we were told 1,853 shells of varying sizes. We were very disappointed with what was delivered.”

Zilka said the city noticed the number of shells was lacking when they opened the crate.

“The show went on,” Zilka said. “We called the gentleman Monday morning on July 7. He said he’d get back to us, and now that’s been (eight) days ago.”

Avon Lake Fire Chief Chris Huerner said firefighters inspect the blast site and check paperwork detailing how many fireworks were shipped out.

“Everything was in order and went off,” Huerner said. “There were no problems with the fireworks show, but the count I guess was different than the contract we had. The Fire Department has nothing to do with the contract — that is something the mayor’s department handles.”

Zilka said the city is withholding payment until the issue is resolved.

“We will not pay until we get this resolved. Obviously we expect to pay substantially less than $14,000,” Zilka said. “Seven hundred and nine is less than half. In terms of shell size, it’s possible they set off the more expensive ones and less of the smaller ones, but that remains to be seen. We think we were short-changed and we will not accept the bill until we get it corrected.”

A representative of Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions’ North Olmsted office did not have information on the matter. He said fireworks are shipped to the local office from the corporate office in Indiana. Once they are shipped out, a licensed expert sets up what is sent out.

Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions corporate office in Indiana did not return calls seeking comment.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.