PRESCOTT -- The Health and Safety Committee met on Monday to discuss relinquishing control over Prescott Daze.
Liability issues for various Prescott Daze-sanctioned events were discussed at at the Oct. 14 City Council meeting. The conversation highlighted concerns about the risks of serving alcohol and making sure vendors have private insurance.
A letter sent in September from the city’s insurance company to Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand recommends that the city relinquish all control of Prescott Daze. The company recommends that the Prescott Daze committee be organized as a nonprofit entity and purchase insurance. The committee would then be responsible for handling funds and making decisions without council approval.
“The city would still be covered if named in a lawsuit because of an incident during Prescott Daze, but the festival would have their own insurance to respond because of their own negligence,” the letter reads.
The idea of the city budgeting money to help cover Prescott Daze purchase insurance was been entertained. The city would continue to help in some ways, such as supplying public works workers and extra police patrol.
Chris Hanson, Prescott Daze committee member, pointed out in October that creating a 501(c)(3) is not easy. Hanson also spoke on behalf of Prescott Daze committee chair, Courtney Leigh.
“She doesn’t have time to create that, and I’m pretty sure no one else of the committee does either,” Hanson said, stressing that the committee is made completely of volunteers solely dedicated to Prescott Daze.
Hanson said that the responsibility would have to go to another group such as the chamber of commerce, sportsman club or another organization.
She added that any claims could name committee individuals as personally liable and would put them at risk of being sued.
"When you're not incorporated or a LLC, then the liability sits with every individual member of the committee," Hanson said. "Nobody is signing up for that."
The Health and Safety Committee decided Monday to hold another informational meeting on the subject after the holiday season. Prescott Daze committee members will be invited to discuss how they want to move forward. The meeting will be an opportunity for interested parties from the public to give input, ideas and comments.
According to Brand, the city's insurance agent was at Monday's meeting and gave some more information to the Health and Safety committee.