FULLERTON : City Rescues Party on New Year's Eve

First Night Fullerton, the city's annual New Year's Eve party, will take place this year after all.

Lack of funds had threatened to abolish the street party, which typically draws thousands of people for various activities, including midnight fireworks.

But the City Council voted this week to use $34,900 of redevelopment funds to put on the celebration, which it bills as a family event that offers a nonalcoholic alternative to conventional New Year's Eve parties.

In the past, the city used money from its general fund to pay for the party but because of budget constraints could not do so this year. Officials said the city can legitimately use redevelopment funds for First Night because the event promotes the downtown business district.

"We don't think that we can be accused of blatantly misspending redevelopment funds," said Gary A. Chalupsky, executive director of the Redevelopment Department.

Said Councilman Chris Norby, "I think it's a good use of the money."

In the future, officials said the city will solicit business sponsorships to put on the celebration. While it makes the transition from public to private funding, the city will provide 66% of the cost for the event in 1996 and 33% in 1997.

"If it's not supported by the community" once city sponsorship ends, Councilwoman Jan M. Flory said, "maybe it should die."

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