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Trumbull Event Planned for Next Year

First Selectman Tim Herbst said he is meeting with the Trumbull Rotary Club to arrange non-town funding for an event next year.

As the debate about the summer concert and Trumbull Day continues, First Selectman Tim Herbst is looking forward.

"We're planning an event for next year," he said Tuesday night during a phone interview.

He encouraged anyone interested in serving on the planning committee. "We'd love to have them," he said of volunteers. Those interested can call Herbst's office in Town Hall or send email to firstselectman@trumbull-ct.gov.

The event will incorporate elements of Trumbull Day, such as rides, games and fireworks, and the summer concert, Herbst said.

The challenge is how to fund it, an issue that has been prominent since Mark IV Construction, a private contractor, has stopped contributing funds to the concert. The town is suing Mark IV and Mark IV is suing Trumbull over roadwork.

Townwide events have been a staple of Trumbull for years, the youngest one being the concert, which started eight years ago. 

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The most successful concert was Train in 2010, but other acts have included the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Styx, REO Speedwagon and KC and the Sunshine Band.

Last year's concert, which was to include three bands, was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene, but about 3,000 tickets were sold, Herbst has said. Unofficial estimates put Bolton's ticket sales between 300 and 700, less than the 5,000 needed to break even.

Bolton was paid $73,000 because of the but Herbst said that amount was mitigated to $20,000 in tax dollars because of leftover Train proceeds.

Such is the peril that comes with the town funding an event: If it's cancelled, the town must pay the cancellation fee. It must also absorb the loss if the event doesn't break even.

Both this year's and last year's concerts would have cost the town about $200,000 each if they proceeded, Herbst has estimated. Although the Town Council approved an appropriation for the Bolton concert, the Board of Finance did not and suggested finding private backers.

Another popular town event, the Irish Festival, was privately run and rented space in Trumbull. That's a formula that worked for the finance board, which unanimously rejected the Bolton concert appropriation.

Another event was Trumbull Day, which was last held outside the Westfield Trumbull Mall in 2011. In its prime, Trumbull Day attracted hundreds of people from all over the region with rides, games and fireworks.

Tom Kelly September 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Let's be clear--the Trumbull Day that was run by the mall was not a town-sponsored event, and just because they called it "Trumbull Day" does not make it so. There is an official Trumbull Day Commission in this town with appointed members of both parties. Those appointments were confirmed by the Town Council. That Commission has been either inactive or it was disbanded. First Selectman Herbst cancelled Trumbull Day effective in 2010, citing the fact that it was losing money, although that doesn't explain why the official Trumbull Day account still had $12,000 in it when Mr. Herbst raided it this year to fund the failed Michael Bolton concert. Does the Trumbull Day Commission still exist? If it does, was it appropriate to raid this fund without convening the Trumbull Day Commission? Is it true that Mr. Herbst cancelled Trumbull Day because it was losing money, or is the real reason he canceled this traditional town family event because he didn't want to work with the chairman, Preston Merritt? My last question is why did Mr. Herbst not bring back the previous concert promoter who was responsible for Train concert? Is this an example of yet someone else who Mr. Herbst has had a falling out or with whom he has trouble working?
Trumbull Supporter September 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM
This announcement really made me laugh! Talk about doing some damage control. Lets face facts Mr Herbst you cancelled Trumbull Day that was run by a committee to "save" the town money. Next you cancelled the Gin Blossoms concerts due to the hurricane. Meanwhile there was THS soccer practice in Indian Ledge that week. Now Halloween comes and you cancel that too. The biggest joke is you chose Michael Bolton for our town concert. Did you ask anyone if they would go? Maybe do a little market research? Then when the loss is announced you net prior profit on a different event to make yourself look better. Let's face it you really have no interest in town wide events unless you are in complete control. You need to ask for help and guidance from other people in this town in order to run sucessful events. Maybe asking the rotary club is a step in the right direction as long as you stay out of it.
Patty Sheehan September 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM
In my opinion, it must get tiresome for the administration to do all this spinning. I think a town-wide celebration is great. Lots of people thought a town-wide celebration was great...let's see...who disbanded it in 2010 due to its losing money? Oh...right. Did Trumbull Day ever lose $73000? Since there was about $12000 left in the Trumbull Day account, I'm guessing it never lost $73000. $73000....more than some people's yearly salary...... Too bad we won't have that $73000 we just lost to help fund this "new" initiative. Let's not forget that next year is an election year folks....I'm guessing "Trumbull Day 2013" will happen so that the voters will have a nice happy memory of a fun town thing and the MIchael Bolton debacle will be almost a year passed. As far as Trumbull Day 2014....you might want to wait until you see who's elected in 2013 before you put it on your calendar.
Joan September 26, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Get out of the concert business. The town has no business putting our hard-earnd taxpayer dollars at risk. Herbst & co. obviously have no skill in this area anyway. Stop lying to us--it insults our intelligence. Taking money out of one account and putting it into another doesn't "mitigate" the $73K loss. That's like saying "Look honey, our vacation trip was practically free because I took the money out of the kids' college fund!" And bring back the REAL Trumbull Day, an event that benefits the WHOLE community.
Anne Fers September 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Lots of people seem passionate about this topic so those of you who do, stop complaining, get on the committee and lets all figure out the best solution. "Those interested can call Herbst's office in Town Hall or send email to firstselectman@trumbull-ct.gov."
Mark E Smith September 26, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Patty, Joan, Tom and TrumbullSupporter any of you going to actually join the committee instead of just complaining all the time. Here is your chance to actually make a difference.
Jim Lang September 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Hey folks, some of us are being a bit unrealistic about these town concerts. They are incredibly expensive and there are lots of risks such as weather, poor turnout, etc. After we pay for the operation of our schools and various other town essential departments there is simply not enough discretionary cash available to risk losing the money. Moreover since most of our citizens have no interest in these concerts it is not a fair to risk their tax dollars.. If you want to be in the concert promotion business you have to be able to afford losing all your money on a given concert. We are not in that situation. We elect our leaders and expect them to make prudent decisions about how to spend or risk our tax dollars. These concerts have always been too expensive a risk for Trumbull. We were lucky - not brilliant but lucky - some years; but this has always been a too risky business for us. Let's leave the concerts to towns who overtax their citizens so they have huge discretionary budgets... Unless you want us to copy their example.
grayc September 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I would love to serve on this committee. I will not represent a business or a political side, I will represent the true participants in these future events.... THE TRUMBULL MOMS!!! Claudia Gray
Joan September 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Sorry, Mark Smith, we still live in the USA and have the right to voice our opinions without being browbeaten into joining committees. We also still have to the right to call out our politicians when they do things we don't agree with, and again when they try to mislead us to cover up for their mistakes instead of taking responsibility for them.
louis September 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Lower the cost for tickets. Get a big name act. Fund $40,000 extra and put on a great show for the people; that's all you have to do regarding this event. Turn it into a carnival or something similar, have one of your staff manage the event. Are you telling me you cannot find a decent act that would do a show for the people for a two hour gig for $40,000? Take the remainder of the procedes and have mulled cider and a bonfire.....well call it an anti-government protest, ok GOP?
louis September 26, 2012 at 06:25 PM
This shouldn't be about Mark IV. They never sponsored the show in the 70's. I'd be saying this even if I wasn't running for office. Sure I want your vote, but I want you to be able to look at me the next day, this stuff isn't rocket science, we hire public officials to do a job for us, the people. This is the job, kids
Jim Flynn September 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM
It's really a shame for Trumbull that nothing that our First Selectman does can be taken without taking into account the long term political consequences of the action. We need a First Selectman who cares about Trumbull and not about his next job as a potential Lieutenant Governor or Governor candidate. All he cares about here is covering up his Bolton fiasco and costing the Trumbull taxpayers $75K!
Anne Fers September 26, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Jim, If you really care about a community event, get on the committee!
Joan September 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM
It is entirely possible for people to care about the community and individual community events without serving on a committee. Lots of people give back to the community in different ways, and even if they don't have time to volunteer, or choose not to, that does not mean they don't have a voice in our town government.
Anne Fers September 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Very true Joan, but if the people posting comments on this site and others, have the time to criticize, complain and condemn then they have the time to serve on a committee! If they are that passionate about it, then they will get involved in a productive way!

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