Economy Nixes Many N.J. Holiday Displays

Cities, Towns Cut Back, Angering Residents, Business Owners

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS 2) — It is that time of year when all those great holiday decorations start popping up in towns all over the tri-state area.

But in some parts of New Jersey municipalities are scaling back their displays because of the economy.

It’s a case of ho-ho-no, reports CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

“Very disappointing, extremely disappointing,” one East Brunswick resident said.

Bright, shiny and cheerful, they are calling cards for the season displayed proudly by towns and municipalities everywhere. But in parts of New Jersey holiday decorations and festivals are being scaled back amidst tight budgets.

“Well, I think it’s a sign of the times. It’s the economy,” Denville resident Irv Lubis said.

The city of Newark has 86’d it’s annual tree lighting outside of City Hall, saying the $40,000 it cost for a crane and operator to rig up the tree is a luxury the city can’t afford.

And in East Brunswick, the town’s administrator, James White, said the annual lighting ceremony and festivities have been cancelled. They’re simply too expensive — $1,000.

“It appears I’ve become the Grinch who stole Christmas,” White said. “The budget is getting that tight now in New Jersey.”

In Denville this season, only about 38 of the town’s familiar holiday snow flake lights are on display. Last year there were 83.

Township business administrator Steven Ward said the electricity bill was just too steep.

“Last year the bill was approximately $14,000. And this year the bill will be about $4,500,” Ward said, adding it would amount to substantial savings.

But store owners Susan Banks said she worries the cuts will be bad for business.

“It could be detrimental to business, absolutely. Because not as many people may come downtown, because it’s not as pretty as it used to be,” Banks said.

It’s signs of the times this holiday season.

The city of Newark has scheduled a smaller tree lighting ceremony in it’s first floor City Hall rotunda on Dec. 13.

  • Frosty

    This is truly the downfall of society.

  • otto

    Be sure to remember these Grinch politicians when election time comes around.

    When times are tough, like now, you need the little things to lift your spirits.

    Any politician who thought this was a really good idea has the wisdom & intelligence of a toilet bug.

  • ezflyer

    Funny how these towns go after the things that mean little when it comes to the budget instead of going after waste and corruption and big ticket items. Newark gets $900 million in aid from the state…and to think, that $40K savings is going to make dent? Government should use more common sense…not waste intelligence.

  • Mike Simone

    come to Pompton Lakes, NJ. we just had our holiday stroll which had about 2,000 people, lighted trees, street lamps, and they are all LED. our downtown is doing well, and we would be happy to give you the tour. come at night to see the attraction.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live