Commissioners offer grant to fund fairgrounds deficit
The Josephine County Commissioners voted unanimously during their Wednesday business session to offer a grant not to exceed $340,000 to offset the Josephine County Fairgrounds deficit for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Attendance was standing room only as members of 4H, the Friends of the Fairgrounds and the Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association arrived at the meeting and voiced their support for the future of the fairgrounds.
The fairgrounds is losing approximately $22,800 a month to pay for staff and utilities. The commissioners also pointed out the infrastructure on the property is aging and repairs are needed. Despite the public outpour of support, all three commissioners said the county needed to consider the county’s fiscal survivability. The fairgrounds in its current fiscal year, which began July 31, is $17,000 in the black but those funds won’t support the fairgrounds till the end of the month.
Commissioner Simon Hare told the crowd the only way for the fairgrounds to continue to operate would be for the community to support the fairgrounds either through ideas, volunteerism or financial backing.
Interim Fair Manager Mary Groves addressed the board saying, “The fairgrounds needs to be marketed,” and that they are sending out 42,000 donation request letters to residences throughout the county.