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Mauston implements new special events policy

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Santa and Mrs. Claus at 2019 Mauston Holiday Parade

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to a parade attendees as their sleigh heads down Division Street at Mauston's Holiday Parade Dec. 7, 2019. The parade is one of four scheduled city parades each year.

Mauston is now adopting a new policy for special events that features guidelines emphasizing public safety and better planning.

At the city’s council meeting on Sept. 13, city administrator Randy Reeg outlined the policy, which features updated stipulations for parades and other street closure events. Reeg and the council agreed upon police, fire, and public works staffing levels, as well as equipment needs for future events.

According to the policy, which was written in an email from Reeg to the city council and mayor Dennis Nielsen, city staff feel it can accommodate a maximum of four parades annually to avoid creating a burden on city resources. The current annual parades scheduled are for July 4, the Juneau County Fair, the holidays, and Mauston High School homecoming.

For logistics leading up to both parades and other street closures, the city agreed upon 3-4 hours of on-duty Mauston Police Department staff time.

The department’s parade support includes three management staff, five or six potential call-in officers for overtime hours, along with four firefighters from the Mauston Fire Department and two public works department staff on overtime pay.

For street closures, two public works employees will be in charge of putting up and taking down barricades, and extra police staff will be commissioned for four hours for events ranging from a projected 250-500 attendees.

Costs for parade support are roughly $502-$621 for pre-parade and management staff time from the police department. The five-to-six department call-ins working overtime will range from $763.25 to $1099.08. Fire units will cost between $112 and $168, while public works will be from $222.16 to $333.24.

Street closure events will require roughly $143 to $190 in on-duty police staff time for pre-event logistics, which is the same as parades. Equipment costs are roughly $300. Public Works Department barricade costs will be $444.32, and extra police staff for four-hour events hosting between 250-500 attendees will be $732.72.

In answers to questions from 2nd District Ald. Darryl Teske, Reeg said that the new policy is designed for street closure events, meaning that events held in parks or other areas of the city are exempt from the policy. Any vendors, bands, fees, or other items for street closure events must also be approved by the city.

Mauston will not retain funds from parades and special events and will work with coordinators to distribute proceeds from them. However, fees for such events require disclosure for insurance and liability purposes. Reeg stated at the meeting that any event coordinators providing their own insurance must inform the city that they are doing so, or if the event does not meet requirements for the city to declare it a municipal event.

Parade and other street closure event coordinators must apply for endorsement and co-coordination by the city 60 days prior to their scheduled event. Street closure coordinators are to also provide projected attendance at events, as the policy states events in excess of 249 people will require two extra police staff, and one more for every 250 projected attendees above that number.

Local non-profit organizations and churches can apply for fee waivers on special events, provided proceeds from the event are for a local charitable effort.

Richard Noe, the 6th District Alderperson and City Council President, asked for clarification on whether the projected attendance would be total amount or amount of people at any given time. Reeg said that the current policy is for total projected attendance, based on suggestions from the police department.

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