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East Otto Town Board discusses insurance, upcoming town celebration

EAST OTTO — East Otto Supervisor James Beach clarified several items in regard to the town-wide July 20 celebration, during the East Otto Town Board’s June 18 meeting.

“It has been brought to my attention that a town resident has, again, been making false and misleading statements about what is said and what is not said, during our meetings,” he said.

Beach reported that he had received a call for clarification, following a May 29 meeting that was held, as a follow-up on plans for this year’s town celebration. “They were told [that] there’s no way that we are ever going to have the celebration, because of the restrictions that the town board has put on,” he said, adding that he was given insurance issues as the reason for the individual’s claim.

“They were also told that other towns have celebrations and don’t have these problems,” he said. “That statement is probably very true, because they also require the certificate of insurance, listing their municipality as additionally insured.” Beach cited the Taste of Hamburg and the Western New York Dairy/Agricultural Festival as examples of this.

Beach sat down with the planning group’s co-chairperson, to answer questions that have arisen, regarding the July 20 event. “I assured them that the town board is very supportive of the group’s efforts and that the document explaining the insurance requirements should answer any vendor’s concerns,” he said.

The supervisor added that he was also questioned about placing a banner. “They were told that they couldn’t use it, because it was going to the historical museum,” he said. “I have no idea where that comment could have come from, since we didn’t discuss it at our meeting. However, I thought that putting the banner up in town was a good idea (never mentioned before) and I volunteered to arrange to have it up, this summer.”

While Beach was asked if the town could obtain an insurance rider, covering approximately 10 vendors, with the planning group’s paying for the extra cost, he said that this would not be feasible. He said the insurance company’s logic was, “Why should outside vendors use part of another’s land/property and charge for selling goods and reaping a profit, while using someone else’s liability coverage? The purpose of insurance is to have a layer of responsibility for coverage and each business is responsible for their own insurance coverage.”

In response to another query, Beach added that he is unaware of any company that would issue a policy that would provide insurance for the approximately 10 vendors.

The supervisor added that, because the planners are approved by the town board and are working on behalf of East Otto, they may sell and charge, as part of the town-sponsored event. He was asked if it would be feasible to sell donated chicken, or ask for a monetary donation. “Volunteers will be cooking and serving, as part of the overall celebration,” he said.

The planning committee asked that the East Otto Historical Building be open, on July 20, during the celebration. “I see no reason why not,” Beach said. “It is up to our appointed historian to make that call and provide coverage.”

He reminded the community that any such requests must go through the historian.

In other matters:
– Town Clerk Ann Rugg paid Beach $768 for May fees and commissions.

– Elizabeth O’Neill addressed the board about offering a free lunch program to children who are attending the swim program. She said that she had a plan to provide lunch and activities for the children, after swim time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

– O’Neill also said that she has lined up volunteers to clean and repair the gym room at the town hall. She asked that the board provide paint and other materials, for this project.

– Following a public hearing, the board accepted a fireworks permit application, for use by the town of East Otto. Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Holler was authorized to process the application and issue permits. The board added the $50 fireworks permit fee to the town’s fees schedule.

– Two residents of East Flats Road asked if the board could address the condition of two properties on their street. According to the couple, the properties in question have been neglected and their lawns have not been mowed. The board will attempt to contact the owners, with the request that they improve the condition of the properties.

– The board authorized Beach to enter into agreements with the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau/New York State Office of Children and Family Services, to run youth programs for the 2013 program year ending Dec. 31.

– The bridge on Meyer Hill has been bid out. Work will be done by Union Concrete.

– The SPCA gave Beach the name of an individual who can remove the chickens that are still roaming around town.

– Several local churches have requested the use of the town hall for a community service, the day after the town celebration. Other entities have asked to use the hall for a blood drive and a birthday party.

– First quarter sales tax, in the amount of $52,364, was received. The mortgage tax, in the amount of $6,199, was also obtained.

– Holler reported that he answered 13 phone calls, issued three permits, completed five inspections and issued one violation. He gave Rugg $135 in permit fees.

The next East Otto Town Board meeting will be held at 8 p.m. on July 23.

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