During their meeting on Thursday, May 2, Northampton Borough Council discussed liability insurance placed on farmers’ market vendors. Victor Rodite, former manager of the farmers’ market, told them that the high cost of insurance (about $300) is turning away smaller craft vendors.
“No wonder we do not have vendors,” said Councilwoman Judy Kutzler.
The insurance is meant to protect the borough should someone get hurt or fall ill from the products sold at the market.
While solicitor Steven Goudsouzian acknowledges that the fee is a high price for small vendors to pay, it is necessary to keep the borough protected.
Councilman Robert McHale asked whether vendors can sign a “hold harmless agreement.”
However, Goudsouzian said if the vendors “cannot afford insurance, [they] cannot afford to indemnify the borough.”
“When you have a vendor who does this for a profit,” he added, “[they] should have insurance.”
While some members of council were not pleased with this solution, others said that the issue should not be a council concern.
“This is such a small [issue],” said Councilman Tony Pristash. “This is for the farmers’ market, not the borough.”
During their meeting, some members of council also voiced concern over rental inspection progress.
Councilwoman Judy Kutzler spent some time in the borough office, helping send out inspection notices.
“We are never going to get through this if you are not scheduling every day,” she told Code Inspector Keith Knoblach. She said she would like to see the borough’s two part-time inspectors committed to so many hours per week, or add a third worker to their team.
Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. defended Knoblach.
A code inspector himself, Lopsonzski said the sometimes other issues take precedence over inspections, like health concerns.
“Any little thing can cause great delay,” he said.
The borough has hired a part-time office worker for the summer to help with administration and code work.
Council also appointed Kenneth Richard to the Civil Service Commission and to the Zoning Hearing Board.