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Potato Fest Committee Comes into Question

After receiving the financial reports during the Feb. 21 meeting, the North Branford Town Council raised some questions.

What started as a final presentation of profits from the raised questions among Council members at the . Branigan reported $5,760.29 in profits, which was added to the Potato Fest’s monies from the previous year, about $15,000. The fund is earmarked for the only.

Councilwoman asked for a breakdown of the expenses from the festival and Branigan said he will give the Council the breakdown by category from 2011, 2010 and 2009.

then questioned the continuation of the Potato Festival and the logistics of an event run in town after hearing rumors that Director Pam Gery stepped away from the event.

Branigan explained that a Potato Festival Committee has been formed and, while Gery is not heading the committee, she will still be involved as the treasurer, handling all of the funds since the Potato Fest will be overseen by the Recreation Department.

“The committee members are a volunteer subset and cannot spend money without going through town procedures,” said . “I am stepping up to attend committee meetings and subcommittee meetings. In terms of revenue, it’s not a separate non-profit.”

stated remembering discussing the Potato Festival turning into its own entity, but Branigan explained that the process to form a 501C3 could take months and would not occur in time for this year’s festival.

“A lot of things have changed, mainly that Pam and her staff are stepping back and the volunteers stepping up, but there’s only so much you can change in one year,” said Branigan. “We’re moving toward something that will be totally independent.”

Dennis Pannone and Willy Taylor are co-chairs of the committee. Rose then asked Town Attorney John Gesmonde if the Town Council needs to form a committee such as the Potato Fest Committee and Gesmonde said yes.

“Boards and commissions cannot spin off boards and sub-committees on their own,” explained Gesmonde. “We have to have some responsibility of how it’s run, who’s running it and if it’s on our insurance policy. People are going to rightfully assume it’s a town function. You can form a standing committee or authorize this group to become a 501c3.”

The Council agreed to discuss how to move forward, whether by officially forming the committee or moving ahead with the 501C3 classification.

David S March 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Nice article Jenn
Jenn McCulloch March 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Glad you enjoyed it David!

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