Fair board officers report improvements to fairgrounds

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Livestock arena improvements that will enable more judging during the Marion County Fair instead of beforehand, and a successful Memorial Day event were just two of the high points fair officials reported at the June 30 Marion County Commission payday session.

Fair board officers Chuck McLinden and John Reznicek told commissioners $10,000 worth of concrete and improvements were added in the livestock areas this year. It extended the show ring into the pavilion. This should help with fair visitors watching more 4-H contestants compete for ribbons rather than have the winners a “done deal” at the Aug. 4-7 event, they said.

McLinden said the former situation had made it so the goat show was held as much as two weeks before the fair.

“We tried to get dual purpose out of things instead of looking at a new building so more could be scheduled through the same day,” he said.

Reznicek said notification by Gary Carlson of Marion that he is going to retire instead of continuing such services as providing fair sound systems has also prompted the fair board to make improvements. These include a public announcement sound system with speakers including horn speakers on a three-year payout plan.

The Memorial Day weekend demolition derby in Hillsboro provided a net income of $4,000 to the fair association, Reznicek said. Thirty-one cars were entered in the derby, he said, a little short of the average 52 cars entered in the August fair derby.

“But we had nothing but favorable comments,” he said. “It will grow.”

Commissioner Howard Collett was assured by the two men that the county’s insurance program had been sufficient to cover the event.

Upcoming improvements, Reznicek said, will include replacing the old wall covering in the 4-H Building, possibly with metal.

“We thought it would do something for the kids, and perhaps improve the appearance of displays,” he said.

“By adding air conditioning, we also might be able to rent it out more for things, like wedding receptions.”

Reznicek said the fair board has been getting about $190 a day for auctions when the rent includes use of all facilities.

McLinden said a new carnival and continued efforts to do more to bring families out for “family fun events” are things that should noticeably improve the fair.

On the subject of the new emergency forces radio system being installed around the county, Collett reported he is hearing “nothing but good reports” on how well it works, and how well it improves communications for ambulance crews, firefighters and law enforcement officers.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported sales tax for things sold in April, received by the state in May, and distributed back to Marion County in June of $40,360.

That was “good again,” she said, putting the county $31,977 ahead for the year over last year at $249,038.

Maggard said State Sen. Jim Barnett has acknowledged receipt of the commissioners’ letter about concerns considering the blue-green algae buildup at Marion Reservoir, and said he is making calls in Topeka about the problem.

County Attorney Susan Robson went into executive session with commissioners twice for client-attorney discussion.

Although a lawsuit at the state level is pending to close the Republican Party primary to only Republicans, Maggard said she is preparing as though the August primary will include slates for both major parties open to undeclared voters.

Commissioners Bob Hein and Collett agreed with Register of Deeds Faye Makovec that her “tech funds” should include expenses for such things as books and file cabinets even though state audits in some counties have questioned some expenditures.

Makovec said offices in some counties had bought things such as furniture with the funds when “they should have known better.”

Makovec presented a 2005 budget proposal up $1,500, including $500 for such inflationary items as chemical film for a mico-processor that continues to increase in price.

The commissioners accepted a $7,207.63 bid for area fuel from Cardie Oil Co. of Tampa that included 800 gallons of diesel in Area 1 at $1.0927 a gallon for $874.16; 2,150 gallons of diesel in Area 2 at $1.0877 a gallon for $2,338.55; 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 3 at $1.1097 a gallon for $1,997.46; and 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 4 at $1.097 a gallon for $1,997.46.

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