Fairgrounds officials will ask the county Board of Supervisors for support today as they seek to create a special district they say will ensure the fair’s existence for another decade.
The Del Norte County Fair Board hopes to create a local fair district through the Del Norte County Local Agency Formation Commission with directors who would be elected by the public in November 2014, said fairgrounds CEO Randy Hatfield.
The Fair Board hopes to get assistance from county supervisors to create state legislation that will allow the district to collect revenue through a sales tax measure that would be voted on by Del Norte County residents in 2014, Hatfield said. The Fair Board is proposing a seven-year, quarter-of-1-percent sales tax to fund the district.
The Fair Board hopes to draft that legislation and get it to state lawmakers by its second session in January, Hatfield said.
The Fair Board is also asking for the county’s support of a fair governance bill, State Senate Bill 741, that would ease state control of county fairs, but wouldn’t do anything about funding, according to a letter Hatfield sent to the Board of Supervisors. That bill is currently in the Assembly.
Hatfield said the Fair Board’s request comes after it conducted a survey that looks at how the public perceives the fair and how the Board should proceed in ensuring the fair’s existence.
“One of the things people liked was local control,” Hatfield said. “They want local control, and we were proposing creating a special district, which seemed to fit right in with what people were answering in the survey.”
The Del Norte County Fair Board has been battling an annual deficit of about $90,000 since the state stopped funding fairs in early 2011, Hatfield said. Almost $200,000 a year in state funding disappeared from the local fair’s budget, he said.
“There’s been a lot of rumors out there that this year was our last fair,” he said. “It is not our last fair, but we will be here through the 2016 fair if nothing is done.”
Shutting the fair down would have an adverse impact on local organizations that have rented fairgrounds facilities, Hatfield said. The community economy would be impacted too, he said.
“People who rent our facility, a lot of them come from out of town and they stay in hotels and they buy food,” Hatfield said. “We have a lot of local groups use our facilities for fundraisers.”
The Board of Supervisors will also discuss sales agreements for properties in the Pacific Shores subdivision for mitigation purposes connected to the Border Coast Airport Authority. Supervisors will also discuss the use of county-owned property at Point St. George for mitigation purposes connected with the airport’s expansion of its runway safety areas.
The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meets at 10 a.m. in Room 100 at the Flynn Administrative Center at 981 H St. in Crescent City. Agendas and staff reports are available at www.co.del-norte.ca.us. Meetings are streamed live at http://media.co.del-norte.ca.us/.