AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Cuts to the Auburn City Budget could mean the Great Falls Balloon Festival leaves Auburn altogether.
The Balloon Festival Board announced last night:
"The Great Falls Balloon Festival will cease activities in Auburn, Maine, for the 21st annual festival, August 16-18, 2013. The decision was made following budget cuts in Auburn, which eliminated in-kind donations for community activities. Historically, the festival received approximately $10,000 - $12,000 worth of in-kind services from the city."
According to Festival Treasurer Mell Hamlyn, that money was used to pay for set up in Festival Plaza. The city paid for overtime for police, public works, and other expenses.
"If we don't have the services, we can't do the set up in Auburn," said Hamlyn. "We don't have the money to pay for those services."
She said nonprofit vendors will be able to set up in Simard Payne Park in Lewiston for the festival.
Without the stage in Festival Plaza, she said there may be less entertainment this year.
"We're hopeful that we can do something in the future in Auburn," said Hamlyn.
Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte is also hopeful they can work out an arrangement with festival organizers.
"I think with cooler heads coming to the table, that we could probably find ways to support the balloon festival," said LaBonte.
"This is driven by the fact that the council wants to provide more funding for education so we can meet our minimum state requirements in additional to the fact that the state's cutting revenue sharing, that we have to make cuts somewhere," said LaBonte.