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City Council Postpones Vote on Family Festival 'Bailout'

Monrovia City Manager Laurie Lile suggested that the council table a proposal to forgive outstanding franchise payments owed by the company that operates the city's Friday street fair.

The Monrovia City Council postponed a vote Tuesday on a proposal to forgive the debts of the company that operates the Friday Family Festival and will reconsider the plan at a later date.

City Manager Laurie Lile had previously recommended that the council forgive for Family Festival Productions, Inc., the company that puts on Monrovia's weekly street fair. The company asked the city to forgive the past-due amounts and waive future fees because of financial hardship.

On Tuesday, Lile suggested that the council instead table the issue to so that the proposal could be further studied. The city had received "a number of comments" and questions from community members about the plan, Lile said.

"In light of the amount of questions that we received and some of the comments and questions that the council has posed to me as well, staff is going to suggest that we not take action on this item this evening," Lile said. "Let us come back and get some info and try to provide some additional clarity for council in looking at this."

The proposal drew the ire of a local attorney who wrote the council a letter earlier this week asking why Family Festival Productions should receive a "bailout" because it had fallen upon hard times.

"Surely, other local and longstanding businesses who are having a tough time surviving in a difficult economy (with all the same financial problems that Family Festival operator cites) would like to get in line for this bailout?," attorney Lynne Palmer wrote.

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said the city will reconsider the proposal in February or March.

Ann R January 16, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Why are we increasing the days of Family Festival to Wednesday and Friday if they cannot pay what they owe the city? When was this decision made? I am glad the Mayor has tabled this discussion to another time. We do not need another lawsuit.
Gustav Hellbro January 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Perhaps it is time to shut down the street fair for a time. It has been going on for several years, and the same vendors show up time and time again so interest is falling off. With all of the construction going on down South of Huntington Drive, we need to keep our streets open and flowing for emergency vehicles and local traffic.
Gayle M. Montgomery January 17, 2013 at 06:31 AM
To me, there's a correlation between an article in the Patch alerting the citizenry to an effort pending, the readership/citizenry responding, and a decision to forestall something. Keep up the good work, Patch. That said, I certainly hope that setting it aside doesn't mean it will be swept through when folks aren't looking. Public comment is appropriate. The office holders are stewards of the community's resources, and the citizenry's wishes need to be taken into consideration in any final outcome.
Richard Lopez January 17, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Bail out??? No way!!! Every business is suffering from the economy right now! If Family Festival Productions is suffering, it is more than likely due to poor management, or poor planning!! The city should not have to shoulder the burden of their mistakes! I agree with Ann R.! Why start a Wednesday event if Friday's, which is much more prosperous, can't hold it's own!!! I say, find another production company to manage the event, one that has a solid plan that will bring continued prosperity to the city coffers, as well as their own!!! Family Festival Productions needs to own up to their obligations!!
Totally anonymous January 19, 2013 at 07:13 AM
At least Mary Ann is taking time to think about it. If they bail out gayman everyone with a business license in monrovia the city should forgive there fees

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