FAQ - Fair

Budgeting

Q.
Should the agreement grant independent budgeting authority to the Fair Board for spending on the Fair and Fairgrounds?

A. The Fair Board will retain broad discretion and authority to schedule, plan and execute the Fair event supported by an adopted County budget and guided by County policies.

Under the proposed agreement, the Fair Board (with County assistance) will prepare and present an annual Fair plan to the Board of Commissioners. The County, in collaboration with the Fair Board and the Fairgrounds Development Advisory Committee, will also prepare and present an annual Fairgrounds Facilities Maintenance/Improvement Plan. Based on these plans and an assessment of relative needs and priorities of the Fair and Fairgrounds, the Board of Commissioners will adopt a Fair budget. This budget will include funding for the Fair event, interim operations and facilities maintenance and improvements.

Under this model, the concept of independent budget authority is replaced with a commitment to broad stakeholder planning, vital partnerships and defined roles for plan execution and implementation. A renewed focus on collaborative planning, communication and partnership is needed to move the vision for a quality Fair event and Fairground facilities forward.

Facilities Access

Q.
Will the County provide access and storage for user groups/stakeholders?

A. Absolutely. The County will continue to provide storage and access to the Fairgrounds. We will work with the Fair Board and other interested parties to develop appropriate guidelines and procedures.

Transient Lodging

Q.
Should the Fair and Fairgrounds Agreement memorialize the dedication of 1/9th of the Transient Lodging Tax to the Fair and Fairgrounds?

A. Per County Code, 1/9th of the Transient Lodging Tax is permanently dedicated to the Fair and Fairgrounds. These resources are received directly into the Fair Fund (not the General Fund) and are not discretionary in nature. Washington County voters would need to approve any changes in the Transient Lodging Tax formula or distribution methodology. The County does not see a benefit of restating in the agreement what is already clearly established in County Code.
See also:

Q.
Should the Agreement include a formula to distribute the Transient Lodging Tax between the Fair event and Fairgrounds maintenance?

A. Since the resources of the Fairgrounds are finite and the needs great, we believe the Fair Board, Board of Commissioners and staff need to work closely and collaboratively to establish annual funding priorities and strike a resource balance between the Fair event and other Fairground necessities. We recognize the needs of the Fair and Fairgrounds will evolve over time. In order to address emerging needs and priorities the County needs to maintain maximum flexibility and discretion over how funds are appropriated. In our judgment a distribution formula is not necessary or in the best interest of the Fair and Fairgrounds.

Volunteers

Q.
The contribution of Volunteers has been part and parcel of the work of the Fairgrounds and has contributed considerable value to the Fair events and facilities over the years. Will this continue to be a focus for the County?

A. The County acknowledges the contributions of volunteers at the Fairgrounds and remains committed to a strong partnership. The County will work closely with the Fair Board and other volunteers to provide opportunities to participate and contribute to the ongoing success of the Fair and Fairgrounds.