By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN The 37th annual Winsted Summer Festival, less than three weeks away, was made an entity of the City of Winsted by the Winsted City Council at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The change gives the city council some degree of control over the Winsted Summer Festival, which is what the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) is requiring in order to provide liability insurance through the city’s policy for the festival, its committee members, and city volunteers.
According to LMCIT, it requires the festival to be “acting on behalf of the city.” Because the festival committee had not met LMCIT’s definition of a covered group in previous years, there were gaps in insurance coverage.
Beginning this year, the city council will be responsible for approving all activities and events for the festival. All contracts with food vendors, fireworks company, etc., will be made between the City of Winsted and the contractor; and all income and expenses will be handled through the city.
Erin Kutz, representing Flagship Insurance, was present at the council meeting to answer questions regarding the city’s liability coverage.
Kutz said if the summer festival were to purchase liability insurance on its own for just the one weekend, it would cost approximately $1,200.
“From a financial standpoint, that would be quite a burden,” Kutz said.
With the festival becoming a city-sponsored event, everyone acting on behalf of the city’s festival will have coverage, according to Kutz.
Kutz also recommended that the city purchase additional coverage for fireworks at a cost of $250.
Dale Maus, chair of the Winsted Summer Festival, told the council the fireworks company has a $5 million liability policy.
“If that is the case, aren’t we kind of getting over-insured, if we are already insured by the vendor?” Council Member Dave Mochinski asked.
Kutz said that she would want to see the actual policy agreement with the fireworks company to see what kind of protection the city would have.
City Attorney Fran Eggert told the council the extra liability coverage would be worth it especially for something as hazardous as fireworks. The money could be used to cover attorney fees, which could amount to a lot, even if the city is not liable, Eggert said.
The council agreed, and approved the additional $250 insurance premium for fireworks coverage.
Maus also asked about the liability coverage for the Winsted Ambassadors and the royalty float.
“For the girls that are riding on the float, if, for some reason, there was an accident or they were injured while riding on the float, their medical payments would actually be covered on their parents’ personal auto policy. If the parents didn’t have sufficient coverage, it would then fall on the driver or whoever is pulling the float,” Kutz said.
But, according to Kutz, the royalty float is on the city policy, and the float is covered.
“For any other event, the girls (ambassadors) are at, or any volunteer work the girls are doing on behalf of the city, there would be coverage as long as they are city representatives,” Kutz said
Winsted building inspector update
Rob Beckfeld of Metro West Inspection Service told the council there wasn’t a lot to report.
“It has been very quiet. No new homes; most of the permits have been decks, basement finishes, reroofing, and residing,” Beckfeld said.
Beckfeld did report that M&N Structures in the industrial park has its foundation and underground plumbing completed and is ready for construction.
Beckfeld also reported that he has talked with the architect and contractor for St. Mary’s Care Center’s new assisted living facility.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the alcohol compliance check grant agreement between the City of Winsted and the Minnesota Institute of Public Health. The grant will pay for the costs associated with doing alcohol compliance checks.
• approved a salary step increase of 3 percent for Clerk/Treasurer Deb Boelter, which raised her previous salary of $50,960 to $52,499.
• approved an additional 40 hours of vacation for the year 2010 for Boelter as compensation for additional hours she has spent filling in as city administrator.
• authorized the city council work session scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2 to be rescheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. due to the general election.
• authorized the regular city council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2 to be rescheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. due to the general election.
• authorized city officials to execute a grant agreement on behalf of the City of Winsted for the wastewater treatment facility improvements.
• learned that newly-hired City Administrator Andrew Elbert will begin his job today, July 26. Anyone interested in meeting Elbert is welcome to stop by city hall and introduce themselves, according to Boelter.