November 30, 2004

Ohio City to Sell Holiday Decorations

EASTLAKE, Ohio - Don't blame the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge if this northeast Ohio city isn't quite as jolly and bright for Christmases to come.

City officials say money - or a lack of it - is causing them to put costly holiday decorations up for sale.

In the last 10 years, Eastlake has spent $130,000 on holiday lights, displays and banners. Nearly $50,000 of the cost was offset by donations.

"In the foreseeable future, we're not going to have the kind of money to put on that kind of display," Mayor Ted Andrzejewski said recently. "I like the Christmas season, but we have to do it within our means."

Andrzejewski said he's willing to sell the decorations for the right price. His community about 20 miles northeast of Cleveland has a $3.2 million budget deficit.

Available items include snowball-throwing teddy bears that cost the city $7,025, an animated giraffe and a lighted peacock.

The city plans to string lights on trees in front of City Hall this year, but most of the decorations will be kept in storage.