by Terry Rogers
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Downtown Milford Inc. was forced to make the difficult decision to cancel the Third Annual Ladybug Festival which brings thousands into downtown Milford. The decision to cancel had to be made early as bands needed to be notified well in advance. In December 2019, Milford City Council voted to provide $30,000 for the festival. On Monday, June 8, Council requested a refund of the $30,000 as the festival has been cancelled until 2021.
“I read the letter you sent and I think you know where we are,” Councilman Jason James, who heads the City Finance Committee, said. “At the last Council meeting, we did vote to request the $30,000 back. It is still in the budget for next year, but we would like you to request the funds again so we can determine where we are. I do understand, however, that you have paid Gable Entertainment a $5,000 deposit and that you may not be able to get that back.”
Peggy Reilly of DMI explained that they were hoping that they could simply defer the funds until next year. DMI was willing to talk to Gable to see if they would refund the deposit, but some of the money had been expended for preliminary marketing materials.
“We paid the deposit to Gable on March 1,” Trish Gerken, Executive Director of DMI, said. “What we got out of that was some sponsorship material that we were unable to use. This is the third year we have done this and they always require deposits pretty far in advance.”
Councilman Dan Mirabello asked how sound Gable Entertanment was and whether they were willing to use the $5,000 deposit from this year for next year’s event.
“They are very sound as far as I know,” Reilly said. “Right now, yes, we have the potential of losing that $5,000 but they are asking us for a date for 2021 and are telling us they are ready to go. We have an email confirming that they will credit the $5,000 for next year. They also guaranteed the same price for 2021 as we were paying for 2020.”
David Rutt, City Solictior, offered to review the contract between Gable and DMI to see if there was any language that may not allow the deposit to be returned. Both Reilly and Gerken explained that they would discuss the matter with Gable after Solicitor Rutt looked over the contract and determined there were no stumbling blocks to asking for the deposit.