Flying high, at a price
While the town foot the bill for the actual hanging of the Andover Day banner, future groups looking to hoist a banner may be faced with an additional hurdle: cost.
Stapczynski told selectmen at a recent meeting that future groups will likely be charged about $1,000 in overtime and other costs associated with shutting down Main Street to allow a town crew to hang and then lower future banners into place.
Groups must also get an insurance binder in case of damage or injury potentially caused by the banner.
Combined with the $1,200 cost of manufacturing a banner, the additional expense could make it prohibitive for most groups working on shoestring budgets to fly banners promoting town activities such as Holiday Happenings, Andover Day and Clown Town.
Selectmen were generally outraged by the idea of charging local, nonprofit groups such a high price to hang a banner.
“That is not a reasonable burden to put on a community group,” Selectman Mary Lyman said. “Sometimes we have policies that aren’t practical.”
But Stapczynski said the town is governed by “very specific requirements. That group has to be prepared to pay for police and plant and facilities. It’s a little under $1,000.”
“These are nonprofits,” Selectman Paul Salafia said. “One thousand dollars is out there.”
While selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli said it took less than two hours to hang the Andover Day banner, Stapczynski said town workers must be paid a minimum of four hours when they work overtime, even if they only do an hour’s worth of work. To minimize disruption on the roadway, the Andover Day banner was hung by 6 a.m.
Selectman Dan Kowalski questioned whether the town would be charged to hang a banner advertising a town-sponsored event. It would be, the town manager said.