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April 11, 2017

L/A's balloon fest punctured?

Concerns over the financial management of the popular Great Falls Balloon Festival, which draws tens of thousands of people to Lewiston and Auburn, have left its status in doubt.

The Sun Journal reported that Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau was contacted a month ago about the festival's financial management, not long after three of five festival board members quit, two of whom told the Sun Journal they left because they were worried about the way the festival was being managed. Entertainers and businesses also said they did not receive payment for the August 2016 festival in a timely manner.

The Sun Journal reported that Nadeau and Finance Director Heather Hunter are examining the 25-year-old event's finances and expect to present findings to city councilors this month, including whether the city will continue to provide taxpayer money to help support the festival.

Festival treasurer Mell Hamlyn said the allegations are unfounded, the newspaper reported. She told the Sun Journal via email that planning is underway for this August's 25th annual festival and that new members had joined the board.

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