Fair, County discuss RV park funding
Fair staff provided information regarding estimated revenue and expenditures the RV park could bring in. It is estimated the park, which will have 35 spots, could bring in $36,500 in its first year with increases over the next 10 years. The estimated cost to construct the park is $35,000.
Fair Manager Jim Wolcott said revenue earned from the park could possibly be used for maintaining the fair’s infrastructure and renovating the facilities.
Wolcott met with County Administrative Officer Jon Ketelsen and they discussed different funding options and how the county can help put the park in.
In addition, Wolcott applied for a replenishment fund through the California Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Fairs and Expositions. The grant is a zero percent loan the fair will have to pay back each year, with a certain percentage of its revenue earned from the RV park.
Eighty-four fairs and festivals have applied for the money, basing applications on projects designed to bring in revenue.
The fairs are put in seven divisions, one being the smallest fair and seven being the largest. Being a number two fair puts the Lassen County Fair on top of the list to receive funding. Wolcott said number one and two fairs are on the top of the list to receive funding.
If the fair is awarded the funding, Wolcott said he doesn’t know how much it will receive. The funding will probably be available in June 2009 with construction happening in 2010, or 2011.
Wolcott said he and the fair advisory board and himself are trying to see what’s out there to get an RV Park.
“Obviously we believe this is some much-needed revenue that we can get,” Wolcott said.
In case the fair is not granted the state funding, Supervisor Jim Chapman suggested exploring a number of cash funds the county is responsible for. When High Desert State Prison was built, the county received prison mitigation funds. Chapman said it could be possible to loan money out of that fund and the money would be put back when the fair pays for its loan.
He said he didn’t know how much the county has but some are unrestricted funds.
Supervisor Pyle said he supports the idea of an RV park, but he wasn’t as enthused about funding the RV park as Chapman is. He said most of the money is tied up, if there is extra, the employers and state will want it.
“I think we’ve got a financial crisis ahead of us. Not a surplus of $80 million,” Pyle said.
Chapman said if the board were to take $300,000 out of a fund and not put it back, then that is wrong. However, he said if the board has money to invest, than why give it to a banker when the money can be invested in the community.
The board discussed directing county staff to see what funding pots are available and if loaning the money could even be a possibility. Chapman said he would like some feedback by May.
Brian Dahle said the auditor and treasurer should identify the funds and what the interest rates are.
Chapman said he doesn’t want to give up on the RV project if the state doesn’t come through with the funding and other options should be looked at.
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