Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the resolution was expected to be approved at the Jan. 17 meeting. That was incorrect. The resolution was actually passed at its Jan. 10 meeting. We regret the error.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. - A resolution requiring clubs and organizations to pay a fee to hold meetings or events at town hall was passed by the town board at its work session on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Anyone using the room will now be required to pay $25 and to produce their own liability insurance starting Feb. 1.
Town Attorney Michael J. McDermott proposed the changes at the Jan. 10 work session and said he’d been considering them for a while. To the town attorney, features such as the building’s narrow and lengthy staircases are an accident waiting to happen and the town’s current lack of protection leaves it exposed to liability claims in the event of such an incident. That is a vulnerability McDermott said he is not comfortable with.
While town employees and anyone engaging in a government function are protected under the town’s insurance policy, McDermott said it does not extend to anyone making use of a government building for civic, recreational or educational activities.
Organizations such as homeowners associations or the Boy Scouts likely have existing policies, McDermott said. The smaller clubs will be responsible for finding their own.
“This is just the town being proactive by insulating itself from any potential liability claims like someone getting hurt,” McDermott said.
Luckily, as far as McDermott knows, no one has ever had such an accident. The measures are purely preventive.
As far as the $25 fee goes, McDermott said that the policy is consistent with the other town properties that require insurance and fees, such as the Yorktown Cultural and Community Center and certain park facilities. Additionally, he said the $25 fee is low compared to the fees charged in other buildings.
The revenue from the board room is not earmarked for a specific use, he said, and will likely be absorbed into the operational costs of the town.