Public Special Events Procedures

A Public Special Event is defined as any planned extraordinary occurrence on the public right-of-way or public parking lot including, but not limited to, parades, processions, bicycle or foot races, street/municipal parking lot closures, public sidewalk sales, or festivals.

Application Process

(If your event includes the sale of alcohol, a separate application is required)

No person may hold a special event on the public right-of-way or public premises without obtaining a Special Event Permit.  Applications and copies of this procedure are available from the City Clerk.  All applications must be submitted, including a non-refundable $25.00 application fee, a minimum of 30-45 business days prior to the event.                 

Completed applications shall be filed with the City Clerk, who will forward the application to City departments affected by the proposed permit. City department representatives shall determine the scope of municipal resources the event will require and will make recommendations regarding approval, denial, or modification of the application. The determinations and recommendations shall be forwarded to the Mayor for his approval, denial, or modification.

Upon approval by the Mayor, and the filing or completion of all additional requirements, the City Clerk shall notify the permit applicant of the projected Permit Fee.  The applicant is also required to sign the Indemnification and Reimbursement Agreement prior to the issuance of the Special Events Permit.

(a)  Fees:   The permit fee for all special events shall be costs of the event to the City of Watertown, including salary and benefits for police officers, auxiliary police officers and street department workers, as determined by the department head, plus a $25.00 administrative fee.  Applicants are required to pay 25% of the projected City expenses as determined by the department head at the time the permit is issued.   

Following the event, the City Clerk shall mail an invoice listing the balance of the Special Events costs to the Special Event Permit holder.  The remaining fee, minus the 25% deposit, will be due within 30 days of receiving the invoice.  All balances over 30 days are subject to interest of 1 ½ % per month. 

(b)  Agreement:  The Special Event Permit Application shall require a notarized Indemnification and Reimbursement Agreement.  No permit may be issued unless the applicant has agreed to the terms of this agreement. (See Application) 

(c)        Police Department Services:   The Police Department will try to provide service for smaller events requiring security or traffic control with on-duty personnel at no cost.  If the services needed for the event exceed the capability of on-duty personnel, the costs will be billed to the event sponsor in accordance with the tiered charge referenced below.    

(d)       Tiered Charge for Charitable Events:  The cost for all applicable City services (i.e. police, fire, street dept.’s) for Special Events conducted for charitable organizations shall be billed in the following manner; 

First Year of Event

No Charge for   City Expenses

Second Year

20% of City   Expenses Charged

Third Year

40% of City   Expenses Charged

Fourth year

60% of City   Expenses Charged

Fifth Year

80% of City   Expenses Charged

Sixth and   succeeding Years

100% of City   Expenses Charged

 (e)  Insurance:  The City of Watertown reserves the right to require an applicant to obtain liability insurance depending upon the type, size, location and sponsor of a Special Event.  Event applicants are encouraged to determine what their legal obligations are, and their risk tolerance, to decide if they may benefit from the protection which event liability insurance may provide.    

(f)  Mapped Routes: All permit applications for special events, including foot or bicycle races, road closures, runs, rides, walks, or parades, shall include a detailed map of the proposed route. Routes for annual events must be submitted with the application regardless of whether previously submitted.  Alteration of proposed routes may be made by the City prior to approval of the permit. In the event that the organizers or sponsors of any special event deviate from the route submitted without approval from the City, the organizers or sponsors of such special events may be denied a permit for the following calendar year. 

(g)  Cleanup:   It will be the responsibility of the applicant to remove any event signs they have posted and remove all equipment, materials, and debris left as a result of the event. Unless an extension has been made by the Street Superintendent, cleanup must be completed within 4 hours of the termination of the event. The applicant will be responsible for reimbursing the City for cleanup costs if this section is not adhered to. 

(h)  Liability Waiver:  The applicant and all volunteers connected with the permit agree to hold the City of Watertown and its employees harmless against any action for personal injury or property damage sustained by reason or exercise of this permit. 

(I)  Appeal of Permit Denials:   Any applicant who has been denied a special event permit, has had an application modified, or disputes the permit fee, may, upon written request to the City Clerk, have the denial reviewed by the Watertown Finance Committee which shall affirm, reverse, or modify the initial action on the application. Such determination by the Committee shall constitute final action.