|At the January 22 meeting, the Board received and considered the annual village association service agreements. This review included a discussion of the use of Township-owned equipment trailers by one or more village associations to be used for parade floats or hayrides, during which the village association may allow passengers to ride on the trailers. The Township-owned trailers are flatbed maintenance trailers and are purchased and maintained for the purpose of hauling materials, debris, small equipment, etc. The Township never intended the equipment trailers to be used to transport people; therefore, the trailers do not have the safety features or go through the routine detailed inspections that we would otherwise insist upon if we had contemplated them being used to carry people.
As part of the discussion, staff advised against loaning equipment trailers to the village associations for these purposes and legal counsel concurred. Also as part of the discussion, it was offered that the Township may be able to insure against any liability concerns related to the village association use of the equipment trailers to move people. This agenda item was tabled for additional information.
Although both the Township and the Village Associations are insured, the staff is concerned that allowing the village associations to utilize Township maintenance trailers for the purpose of hayrides and parade floats could potentially subject us to liability that would not be covered by insurance. Staff presented this issue to Carolyn Miller, the Township’s independent insurance consultant, who advised against loaning the equipment trailers for use as people movers and offered the following response:
You have indicated that the various villages do not own vehicles, and that the trailers would be towed by various volunteers' personal automobiles. The liability coverage on the trailer would be provided first by the vehicle to which it is attached during the tow. It is unlikely that the individuals would be able to obtain the limits of liability that the Township would need, or that their insurance companies would be willing to provide the Township with the primary, non-contributory additional insured status and a waiver of subrogation. Although loaning the trailers is a nice gesture, it would open the Township up to unnecessary liability. Since the villages have routinely rented trailers in the past, I would suggest they continue to do so now.
The village association service agreements provide $10,000 in funding for each village to be used for insurance, which is the primary purpose for the funds, and a minimum of one “Community Spirit” event per year. Funds may also be used to assist in funding administrative and operating expenses (such as post office box rentals, office supplies, advertising, website development and maintenance, storage facilities, copies, etc). Funding may not be used for donations, grants, scholarships or similar purposes.
In addition to this funding, the Township provides, upon request through the service agreement exhibit, primary equipment for the Community Spirit Event. If a village association chooses, they may use the Township-provided service agreement funds to rent a trailer that is properly fitted for use as a parade float and obtain the appropriate insurance to cover such rental through the use of the service agreement funds; however, staff advises against loaning the Township-owned equipment trailers for use as parade floats, hayrides, or other non-specified use.