ONEONTA _ Centennial Committee plans to start the yearlong Oneonta city celebration during First Night will have to wait to be finalized.

That was the decision during Wednesday's meeting of the about 15-member group that is planning centennial events for the city.

Members asked a number of questions of First Night steering committeewoman Bridget McGuiness. First Night Oneonta owes money to one of last year's performers as well as dues to its parent organization, and a state grant representatives said they were counting on has not been released.

"We plan on doing First Night," she said, but she had few specifics of how the volunteer group will meet its financial goals.

She invited the Centennial Committee to be involved in the event, including the parade planned for Dec. 31, but when asked questions about a state grant or whether funds were available for fireworks, she did not have answers.

First Night chairwoman Lynn Bailey did not return a call earlier Wednesday for information on the situation.

First Night International Executive Director Dave Sullivan told a reporter earlier in the day that it was not too late for the Oneonta event to pay the $350 fee needed to use the "First Night" title.

McGuiness did say that the Oneonta First Night steering committee is made up of four to five volunteers. Fundraising letters for this year's events are scheduled to be mailed Thursday, she said.

Centennial Committee co-chairman Kevin Herrick said, "We don't want to offend you, but we want to be assured there is going to be something."

McGuinesss said that committee members were welcomed to attend the next First Night meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Herrick and committeeman Theodore Basdekis said they will attend and report back during a specially

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scheduled meeting Oct. 24.

After McGuiness left, the discussion continued.

Edie Pohlhamus, the city purchasing agent, who serves as a private citizen, said, "If First Night is going to pull off fireworks, that will be marvelous. If not, we can still have a celebratory evening."

Other members agreed they wanted to start off the year with fireworks, but it had to be part of a larger event so people would attend.

Pohlhamus said that city officials requested $25,000 in the upcoming budget to help underwrite the events. But the available amount would not be known until a budget is approved in December.

The group also discussed its tentative schedule of events.

Co-chairs Herrick and Tom Clemow will be contacting sponsors to discuss the program that is scheduled to include: March 15, Centennial Ball; June 14, ice cream social; July 4, baseball re-enactment; Aug. 30, balloon launch Oct. 4, Centennial Parade; Nov. 8, Mayor's Reception.

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