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Local entertainers approach Price council

Sun Advocate community editor

Mayor Joe Piccolo goes for a swim at last year's International Days. The 2008 event committee is reconsidering insurance requirements.

The difference between local children's entertainment and a full blown carnival was discussed at last Wednesday's Price City Council meeting as Den and Jens Inflatable bouncers approached the local governing body for an insurance variance.

"I get offended when people compare us to a carnival," said Dennis Slavensky who read a prepared statement to Price councilmembers. "We are a local party planner and we plan to stay that way."

According to Slavensky, to city is requiring that his business carry $1 million/$2 million aggregate insurance in order to participate in this year's International Days celebration, a amount that he feels is unfair.

"I feel we are adequately insured with our current $100,000/$300,000 aggregate policy," said Slavensky. "If we were a carnival with 30 foot metal rides I could understand us having to carry the higher rate. Our company values safety because we care about the children of this community but our rides are inflatable and geared for smaller children, we feel that we are covered."

Slavensky reported that the state of Utah only requires him to carry the $100,000/$300,000 policy and doesn't understand why Price city is charging a higher rate. Following the reading of his statement, Slavensky requested that the council allow him to operate under his current insurance plan, sighting the difference between his business and a full blown carnival.

"My insurance provider doesn't even offer the $1 million/$2 million insurance you are asking for," said Slavensky. "If we can't agree on $100,000/$300,000 then I don't think I will be coming to International Days."

A community club perfoms a public demonstration at last year's International Days celebration. This year Price city has increased their requirements for certain entertainment providers and is currently reviewing their policy to determine whether there is a difference between carnivals and local party planners.

Upon hearing his request, councilmembers along with Price city staff began discussion concerning the municipality's possible liability.

"This is up to the council to decide the risk you are willing to accept," said Price city human resources director John Daniels. "I would like to see us investigate tulip insurance. I have seen a lot of cities offer this type of insurance lately wherein groups buy into a city's insurance coverage temporarily for events."

The council also considered paying for Den and Jen's services next year rather than having the party planner charge patrons. It was Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo's contention that if the city paid for the service then they could accept the company's insurance liabilities.

"You know International Days is the only event where we do charge the kids," said Slavensky. "When we do events like the fair in Emery, they pay and then we let the kids ride for free. We don't mind charging at International Days because we love our community and really feel like we bring something special to the event. I am not at International Days for the money, I do get exposure at the event but what I am really there for is the kids."

Price councilmembers echoed Slavensky's statement.

"You stuck your neck out when you started this business locally," said Councilmember Jeannie McEvoy. "You could have gone broke but instead you have put smiles on many local faces. Your attraction is something we would really like to keep at International Days."

After further discussion, the council decided that the decision at hand would affect all local business. Instead of giving Den and Jen's a variance, officials decided to review the issue for city-wide businesses and give their decision at the next council meeting. All councilmembers stated that there was a definite difference between the local party planner and a carnival.

"I don't feel that your operation is comparable to a carnival," said Councilmember Kathy Hanna-Smith. "And I don't really think you should have to carry the same insurance but what we have to look at is being fair to every business."

As International Days is less than a month away, the council expressed concern about whether the two-week waiting period would affect Den and Jen's planning, but was steadfast in the decision to take the matter into consideration until the next meeting on June 25.

"We will take this under advisement and I think when you come back in two weeks you are going to get what you are looking for. We value your business but what we are looking to find is an even playing field for all business in the area. I think the council and staff will come to the right decision," concluded Piccolo.

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