New Henderson Ordinance Could Mean the End of Ski Day on the Ohio
As Sonny O'Beach might say, "Whoa dude! Not cool!"
On Monday, The Henderson Fiscal Court passed an ordinance requiring a permit for large public events held on private land. The ordinance also requires the holder of the permit to reimburse the county for any overtime costs accrued by emergency personnel, such as the Sheriff's Department, for gatherings of over 500 people. Ski Day on the Ohio is held annually on Newburgh Beach which is geographically located in Henderson County, and drew approximately 1,800 party-goers back in August.
Henderson County Sheriff, Ed Brady told the Court, in a statement obtained by the Evansville Courier & Press, that while many in attendance at the annual beach party are having fun and not causing trouble, there are those that are taking part in "widespread intoxication, underage drinking, drug use, urinating and defecating on the beach and in the woods near the beach. It's just really expensive and getting to be a dangerous environment for emergency services people who have to go down there and deal with it. We've got to have some type of reasonable control,"
The Sheriff's Department estimates it spent roughly $5,000 in overtime pay for the 11 deputies working the August 12th event.
The new ordinance, 10-pages in all, also requires $1 million of liability insurance, and organizers would have to submit plans for security, public safety and clean up, according to the Courier & Press.
The ordinance also gives the judge-executive the power to grant any permit after taking such things as health, safety and welfare of the general public, the impact the event would have on transportation, both on roads and on water, in the vicinity of the event, whether the event would create problems for neighbors and the impact of the event on the local economy into consideration. If any of those conditions were not met, the judge-executive has the authority to revoke the permit.
In the event the judge-executive denies an application, the Fiscal Court would hear appeals from the applicant.
Another provision in the ordinance gives the Henderson County Sheriff's Department the power to suspend any event if they feel there are, "exigent circumstances or the threat thereof which present a reasonable concern for public safety."
Ski Day organizer, Rick O'Daniel, who held the first Ski Day on the Ohio in 1979, told Eyewitness News that he's always cooperated with county authorities to keep the event as safe as possible, but the extra fee is simply money he doesn't have.
The court did say they are willing to work with O'Daniel to see if they can help manage event.