Mathews County supervisors last week refused to pay the full $687 for special event insurance for the upcoming Tour de Chesapeake, an annual bicycling event that draws hundreds of visitors to the county, but the board did agree during the meeting to offset the cost with a $300 contribution.
Linda Greve, director of the steering committee that organizes the biking tour, had asked the board to pay the cost of the insurance, which would list the Mathews County Visitor & Information Center, which is involved in planning for the tour; the Mathews Land Conservancy, which hosts many of the activities, and the county as the insured parties.
“I feel that it is an important and very inexpensive investment in tourism,” said Greve. “It brings a great deal of people into the county for the event and throughout the year.”
Supervisor Janine Burns said she loved the tour and thought it was terrific, but wanted to know if the committee didn’t have the money to take care of its own insurance. She said that the county paid for the insurance last year for the first time because it had been discovered at the last minute that the tour wouldn’t be covered under the county’s own insurance policy and there wasn’t time for the committee to make other arrangements. But she said it’s been a year, and the committee has had time to think about the problem and plan.
“I’m very concerned that we not establish a precedent where not-for-profit events in the county can come and expect to be supplemented for insurance for their event,” said Burns. She said that the county’s former insurance company, VACORP, the insurance arm of the Virginia Association of Counties, had for many years worked with the county to see what conditions needed to be met in order that large events such as the tour and Mathews Market Days could be covered for liabilities.
But the county changed insurance companies last year, and it now has insurance through the Virginia Municipal League. Burns said she was concerned about setting up a whole new budget item that isn’t tightly managed and that would lead someone with a good idea and some county affiliation to expect equal treatment. She said she hopes the county can work something out with VML by next year.