The Marilla Fire Company had nothing to do with the annual summer car show this year, despite being blamed for rising costs that cut into the amount the show raised for charity, the company’s president said.
President William J. Blarr told the Town Board last week that the company’s only role was to be available for emergency medical and fire services and that the Marilla Benevolent Association actually leases fire company grounds for events such as the car show.
The controversy erupted earlier this fall when car show organizers said that unexpectedly high charges for insurance, use of the grounds and parking ate into the profits they had planned to donate to Mercy Flight.
The fire company decided to have nothing to do with the car show this year because of problems with the show committee in prior years, Blarr said. Instead, he said, the car show’s agreement was with the benevolent association for parking and grounds rental.
Blarr added that he doubted that those fees even came close to the insurance and maintenance fees incurred on an annual basis by the fire company.
The issue between the car show and the town is the cost of insurance, which car show organizers consider too high. “The fire company spends almost $25,000 per year on insurance, and when the benevolent association wants to rent out our grounds and buildings, it is only common sense that they would charge a fee which would allow them to partially reimburse the fire company for those costs,” Blarr said.
Instead of blaming the fire company for failure to meet financial goals, Blarr said, the committee should consider making the car show smaller.
The town is considering requiring permits for events such as the car show with specific insurance requirements. The show this past July was the first time the committee had to pay for its own insurance to protect the town from liability. The committee thought that it would be $300, but it turned out to be $1,500.
The show takes a year to organize and costs about $20,000, which is offset somewhat by registration fees. It is spread over two days and draws thousands to the area of Two Rod and Bullis roads.