Dover council cancels New Year’s Eve event


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Councilman David Anderson, Rebecca Anderson, center, and Lauren Scott review details of what still needs to be done before the planned New Year’s Eve event will get approval. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard).

DEVELOPING: DOVER  — City Council, in a special meeting Tuesday morning, voted 7-2 against the New Year’s Eve event proposed by the city’s Youth Advisory Council.

Monday night, city manager Scott Koenig recommended canceling the event in downtown Dover because the group planning it still had not filed the proper paperwork.

“I represent the administrative side of the city, which is representing city council,” Mr. Koenig said during the YAC meeting on Monday afternoon.

“I need things in writing to fall back on because if something goes wrong we are creating something that is unsafe and we don’t have the documentation to go with it.”

“That puts the city at risk and I’m not authorized to put the city at risk,” Mr. Koenig added.

“I’m not authorized to bind the insurance or the contracts that will allow the event to move forward. I’m asking the committee to cancel because otherwise I would have to cancel the event.”

If the event is approved by the city, the family-oriented event will center on Legislative Mall and along Loockerman Street and will include local vendors and businesses. It will begin at 5 and run through 10 p.m. and include live music and entertainment.

Last month city council voted 9-0 to accept recommendations from the committee regarding the event.

The recommendations included a proposal for the event and a request for support from the city for security, insurance, public announcement stages and facilities.

Mr. Koenig also outlined a few deadlines the committee had to commit to as well, which included securing permits for the event and road closures by Dec. 11.

Also they had to provide the required documentation to use all private property associated with the planned event.

But Mr. Koenig said those deadlines weren’t met.

“In October I received a preliminary narrative of the event that had the map,” Mr. Koenig said. “We requested a final narrative by Dec. 4 to make sure everything was lined up to what was actually happening with properties and that narrative wasn’t submitted.

“I got it on Dec. 17. I felt as though the information regressed, as to what was provided earlier to the prior narrative.”

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 seven 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 was originally supposed to end with fireworks, but Councilman David Anderson, who acts as liaison between council and the committee, said everything was discussed beforehand.

“We discussed the insurance should be purchased,” Mr. Anderson said. We also discussed the time lines and contracts and discussed that the fireworks weren’t going to happen, so I don’t really understand that confusion.

“I’ve been in conversation with Legislative Mall every day and there’s no issue with that. There’s no issue with the venue and everyone is expected to go without fireworks, so I really don’t think there’s an issue there.”

But Mr. Koenig said just simply dropping the fireworks doesn’t make it easier to get everything in place.

The narratives weren’t submitted on time,” Mr. Koenig said. “We needed to meet the goals and the objectives, but in this case we didn’t.

“I need to have those things on the dates that I needed to have them. It’s December 28 and it’s very hard if not impossible to be adjusting an event at this point.”

One of the main permits that haven’t been submitted by the YAC is a special events permit.

“One of the concerns that I have is that I’m the first stop when there is a special event, said Timothy Mullaney Jr., a fire marshal and law enforcement officer for the city.

“The packet gets filled out and I haven’t seen anything. Logistically for me to look at it, as to how you set your event is going to be difficult for me staff wise to make sure you’re covering every base.”

“There are a lot things on my end that I need to do and I haven’t heard anything,” he added.

“Especially if I give you a list of some changes that may need to be made 24 hours before the event and I expect for you to get it done before you have the have the event.

“We ask for it to be submitted at least 30 days before the event. It’s the responsibility of people holding that event to submit that to me so we can tell you up front what you have to do it get it done.”

Rebecca Anderson, 17, said they will submit the special events permit by 9 a.m. today.

“We’re going to work on it like crazy tonight,” Rebecca said. Everything should be addressed and if anything is missing we’ll be able to address it sooner than later.

“We’ve run into a few challenges, but I think we’ll be fine moving forward.”

Mr. Mullaney said usually the process takes a few days to go through, but if the YAC submits the special events permit in by today then he will try his best to make sure to look over it as quickly as possible.

“I’m going to do everything I can,” Mr. Mullaney said. “They’re very ambitious, but it depends on them. Everything has to be in order.

“Hopefully they don’t need to anything extra that will delay their process, as time isn’t on their side right now.”

Mr. Mullaney said once the permits are approved by him it has to go through Mr. Koenig, who ultimately has the final say.

“I’m not signing off anything related to this event,” Mr. Koenig said.

There will be a special council meeting today at 9 a.m. to further discuss the matter.

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