City Says Whalers Owe It Thousands

Danbury Whalers prepare to skate.
Danbury Whalers prepare to skate.
A dispute over fire safety at the Danbury Ice Arena will come before the City Council Tuesday in an effort to resolve a complex financial and safety issue that dates back more than 10 years.

Danbury Mayor Mark Bougton said in a letter to the City Council, "Today, the Whalers owe us a significant amount of money for services provided: $64,879 for police and $16,221 for Fire Marshals."

Provisional Danbury Fire Marshal Marilyn Gillotti explained the issue dates back to the days of the Danbury Trashers and when the original sprinkler system was installed in the arena. It was a light duty sprinkler system, not designed for the crowds that can attend a hockey game. The sprinkler and the number of exits are inadequate, requiring the presence of fire marshalls at each home game.

The city is arguing the staff should be paid by the Whalers, but the Whalers are behind on their payments. A written agreement to this deal can't be located, Gillotti said.

"We're still required to protect the health and safety of the public," Mayor Boughton said. "Somebody has to pay for these guys, and right now the public is paying."

Boughton wants to turn the issue over to the council to solve, so Tuesday it will likely be turned over to a council committee for study.

bordwithbs January 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Safety IS important, however the economic well-being of the city is important as well. A review of the safety system(s) and a reasonable solution that benefits all would be preferable to an ongoing battle where no one wins. Since the fire station is all of two blocks away, and the same distance away with the police station is it necessary to have the level of off-duty police and fire marshall present to the extent that they are being required? Is that the state law? Could private security accomplish the same thing, or even more at a lesser cost to the Whalers? How it it that the mall can have private security and not be required to hire city police? Are there early warning fire systems that could be installed? Are the police and fire unions involved in the staffing requirements? Why are exiting crowds not suoervised by the police who are hired to watch the crowds in the facility? Let's support our professional teams, and make sure we are not singling them out for "special treatment".


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