RENO — The tough economy means the skies above Reno will be dark this New Year’s Eve for the first time since 2000.
City officials and casino sponsors have canceled the fireworks display because of the recession.
“With the downturn in the economy, with people getting laid off and with the tightening of budgets all over town, we just didn’t think it was right to spend $20,000 or $30,000 on something that goes up in smoke,” Mayor Bob Cashell said.
“I believe in them and really like having them, but personally, I didn’t think that it sent the right message to everybody.”
The decision was made jointly by city officials and executives of the Eldorado, Circus Circus, Silver Legacy and Harrah’s casinos, which help sponsor the show.
“The cost of the fireworks keeps going up, and the quality is not what we would want,” said Glenn Carano said, marketing director at the Silver Legacy.
Cashell said it remains to be seen whether the lack of fireworks will keep tourists away.
“I think a lot of people came from Susanville and closer areas to see the fireworks and celebrate New Year’s,” Cashell said. “But if they stopped to think about it, I would think that they would realize the situation we have this time.
“And I think the casinos were very smart to bring it up … I know that we had to cut back our share of it.”
The mayor said he suspects some residents wouldn’t approve of the fireworks, given the challenging economic times.
“We have not laid off anybody yet, but I would hate to lay somebody off and think that we just burned up $30,000 in fireworks,” Cashell said.