By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Seward County commissioners approved a change in fees for use of fairground facilities Monday.
The board did have some disagreements, however, on the use of the rodeo arena. The proposal presented by Activity Center Director Janet Lewis called for a $500 per day fee for usage.
Commissioner Jim Rice, who had checked with other counties to compare, said he would like for Seward County to stay competitive.
“For the rodeo arena, I’d like to see that dropped down to $200 a day,” he said.
Lewis said the prices in the proposal were from years past.
“There was some discussion about events that would charge admission to get in,” she said. “Surrounding counties do keep in contact with each other and do kind of a survey on what the charges are.”
Rice said other counties did charge a little extra in the case of a ticket sales event. Lewis said this is what the $500 charge was for.
“We had discussed possibly looking into some prices of if somebody was just using it for practice,” she said.
Commissioner C.J. Wettstein said he would like to see the county charge $25 for day time use for uses such as practice.
“If it’s just practice, charge them $25 a day,” he said. “If they want to go into night time and they’re not charging, I’d like to see us charge $100 for that. That’s just to cover the cost of the lights.”
Rice said he would like to see a time limit put on the night time use, and Lewis said the lights at the arena are set to go off at a certain time.
County counsel Dan Diepenbrock said his main concern was with liability insurance.
“You can keep it the way she has it now for events, and they’ll have a non-event private use per day,” he said. “If you do that, are you going to require them to have liability insurance?”
Lewis said for 4-H use, the county does have a waiver, which an adult must sign. Diepenbrock said the concern is not with users hurting themselves, but rather other people.
“A waiver’s not going to help you,” he said. “The question is, are you going to require them to have insurance.”
Lewis explained there is a way to have liability insurance for use of the rodeo arena.
“My understanding is if you are a homeowner and you’re liability insurance on your homeowners policy is $500,000 or more, you contact your insurance company,” she said. “You need to have the Board of Seward County Commissioners as an additional insured. That can run anywhere from $25 to $75 a house. They would already have their current policy. They would just have to pay them also.”
Diepenbrock said he believes the $500 a day fee is reasonable for an event such as a rodeo.
“What you’re saying is you’d like alternative fee schedules for non-event private use, non-event multiple-party use,” he said.
Rice said charging less would be more beneficial not only to the county, but the community as a whole.
“If we get an event in here for $250 versus $500, we certainly could make that up on sales, gas, meals, motel rooms,” he said.
The fee for ticketed events was changed to $250, and the fees for non-ticketed events will be decided at a later date. The commission unanimously approved the motion, which also included fees for the Activity Center, the Seward County Ag Building, kitchen and concession facilities, grandstands, sheriff reserves, Event Center personnel, stage set up, curtain booths and electronic media.