The ACT government has hired an external consultant to run this year’s Floriade, as an auditor determines the extent of last year's budget blowout.
Events firm Visabel signed a $150,000 contract in February to run the 2018 flower festival and conduct high-level planning for the 2019 event.
The same firm signed a $99,000 contract in December for the role of Enlighten 2018’s executive producer.
An ACT government spokeswoman said hiring a third party to run those events was in line with the 2025 Major Events Strategy , where the government was looking to outsource event delivery for some ACT government-run major events.
But it comes as auditors run the ruler over the 2017 event.
During estimates hearings last week, government officials revealed issues of "probity and integrity" were an "open question" in the overspend, which was described as "certainly more than $100,000".
The budget for last year's festival was $3.796 million. The budget for Nightfest 2017 was $653,000.
Audit firm Protivi began an audit on May 15 to determine the extent of the damage, which Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate Deputy Director-General Kareena Arthy was unable to put a figure on.
A spokeswoman for the directorate said a draft report will be received for "preliminary consideration" shortly.
"While some degree of overspend on the 2017 Floriade event is expected, a final figure will be confirmed in Protiviti’s report. The ACT government will determine a course of action once the report has been provided," she said.
Ms Arthy told the committee part of the problem was loss of corporate memory, with the loss of eight staff out of around 50 since last year's Floriade.
When Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched the new events strategy last year, he said the government would move away from delivering events in-house to a more "market-based approach".
Flagship events like Floriade and Enlighten would remain "signature" ACT government events for the "short-to-medium" term, he said, while there were "opportunities" for an event partner to run Australia Day and New Years' Eve celebrations.
Ms Arthy said that shift was part of the reason for the exodus.
"One of the reasons is around a change in expectations in terms of what we might want them to deliver against perhaps what they might want to be involved with,' Ms Arthy said.
"For example I came in last year and then we were looking the major events we were transitioning from the previous model which was very much hands-on to a more oversight model.
"A lot of staff we had in the unit were very much in the hands on mode and made the choice to leave after Floriade was delivered."
Ms Arthy told the committee the government's strategic finance arm was currently looking at how they could fund the overspend before the end of the financial year
A spokesman for Mr Barr confirmed on Tuesday he still had not been approached for a Treasurer's advance to cover the overrun.
This year's event will be the 31st flower festival in Commonwealth Park.
More than 434,000 people attended last year.