Councilman vows New Year’s eve event is a go despite concerns

DOVER — Don’t start the countdown to the New Year just yet.

There seems to be some uncertainty about the Youth Advisory Committee’s upcoming New Year’s event in Dover.

The family-oriented event is supposed to feature live music and entertainment in downtown Dover and end with a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Scott Koenig

Scott Koenig

Approved last month by city council, recommendations from the committee included a request for support from the city for security, insurance, public announcement stages and facilities.

But City Manager Scott Koenig said the Youth committee didn’t meet some of the required deadlines.

“We laid out a few proposed deadlines that they were supposed to meet and they didn’t,” Mr. Koenig said Thursday. “The main concern was the fireworks display. That was the main issue.

“There wasn’t a contract executed for that. From there, the city staff sent out a letter that it should be canceled or postponed.”

Councilman David Anderson, who acts as liaison between council and the committee, said he plans to still have the event.

“I would never cancel when everything is already prepared, paid and people are dependent upon it,” Mr. Anderson said. “It would be illogical.

“The fireworks may not work out due to permitting turnaround issues,” he said. “Because of this, some in city government are pushing for the entire event to be canceled.”

Councilman Fred Neil said he was disappointed with the committee after he heard certain deadlines weren’t met.

“The event was worthwhile,” he said. “It sounded exciting, but they weren’t able to execute what they needed to do for everyone that was coming out to the event.”

Dover has not had a New Year’s Eve citywide event since 2010. The annual First Night celebration was canceled in 2011 after a 15-year run due to lack of funds.

The youth committee consists of nine members and meets once a month. It allows teens ages 14 to 18 a chance to speak on issues that affect them, as well as develop leadership skills for the future.

The event, as originally planned, would be held from the Legislative Mall area to a vacant lot adjacent to the Duncan Center at the corner of New Jerusalem Way and Loockerman Street.

Dover Councilman David Anderson

Dover Councilman David Anderson

Planned hours are 5 to 10 p.m.

The committee has raised $30,000 which were in-kind donations, said Mr. Anderson.

“This includes expenses and performers donating their time for the event,” he said. “There should be minimal expenses for the city. We have money to pay for the security as well.”

Expenses are being handled by the youth committee, primarily through donations and volunteer work.

Security will be provided by off-duty Dover Police Department officers.

Cadets and volunteers will be on hand to help with cleanup after the event.

Dover police will provide their usual New Year’s Eve patrols in addition to those at the celebration.

Dover Police spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said the police have talked to Mr. Anderson regarding the event and to Cpl. Hoffman’s knowledge everything was fine.

“I haven’t heard anything about it being canceled,” he said. “If it has, we haven’t heard anything about it, but we have talked to Mr. Anderson a few times about them hiring a few police officers and using cadets.”

During last month’s meeting the main issue raised by council members was the city’s insurance policy, as Mr. Koenig informed council that an insurance broker had indicated the city can purchase a policy to cover the event for $433, based on the narrative provided by the representatives.

He explained it would be a separate policy that would prevent the city’s umbrella from being used should someone get hurt or if there is damage related to the event.

Fred Neil

Fred Neil

The separate rider policy would be specifically for the event and cover the parameters of it.

If anyone was injured, he or she would be funneled through this separate policy.

“That was my main concern,” Councilman Neil said. “I was concerned about the safety of everyone. If they failed to have that aspect covered then I can see why the city recommended it to be canceled.”

Mr. Neil said he think it’s a risk if the Youth Advisory Committee plans to hold the event moving forward.

“They failed to do what they were supposed to do and if something were to happen people will hold the city responsible,” Mr. Neil said.

“I think if they wanted a smaller and much more pertained event that it would be fine, but again I think that the safety needs to be covered.

“I appreciate the effort, but they came up short.”

Mr. Anderson said he plans to hold a Youth Advisory meeting at 3 p.m. Monday to sort everything out.

“Council members will be invited to make their case of why something that has been arranged top to bottom should be abandoned for no reason at the YAC on Monday,” Mr. Anderson said.

“I can’t see that succeeding now that every argument has been shown misplaced.”

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