Commissioner studying ways county could help fair board

Published 9:59 am Friday, August 26, 2011

A bond issued by the county might be a possible way to help the fair board finance the new livestock barn and arena it wants to build.

A week ago members of the fair board came to the county commissioners to ask if they would act as the fiscal agent for the board when it borrows funds for the project.

Plans are to construct a 300-foot by 60-foot structure by next July.

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The fair board has the $400,000 it needs in pledges, but would have to borrow the money from a bank as the pledges come in.

Commissioner Bill Pratt at Thursday’s regular meeting said he has been reviewing options the county could take to help out the fair board.

“Ways in which we could assist while protecting the county’s interest,” Pratt said.

After the meeting Pratt said a possibility would be for the county to issue a bond for one year that would combine the $3 million needed to do the flood repair infrastructure work in the county with the $400,000 needed for fair board.

The county would be reimbursed for the $3 million — half from the state emergency management agency and half from the county engineer’s budget. At the end of the year the fair board would be required to get its own loan to repay the county. The fair board would also have to put up the fairgrounds, appraised at $1.1 million, as collateral.

That option has the potential to save the fair board $9,000 in interest. Going this route would depend on the borrowing capacity of the county, Pratt said.

If the county were to borrow the money directly for the fair board, it couldn’t get a rate that was much lower rate than if the fair board borrowed the money, the commissioner said.

Pratt expects to present his study to the full commission in two weeks.

“As a commissioner I want to follow the policy that I want to help people who are helping themselves,” he said. “The fair board has shown that it has been helping themselves with the improvements at the fair grounds.”

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved the out of county travel for Tim Porter, administrator of the Union-Rome Sewer District;

• Approved the subdivision variance for Whitley Subdivision as recommended by the county planning commission;

• Appointed Les Boggs and Bill Pratt as voting representatives for the annual County Commissioners Association of Ohio.