|Fair board looking at finances|
|Written by By BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor|
|Saturday, 29 August 2009 06:11|
Less than a month after the close of the 2009 Wood County Fair, there was a sense of urgency in some matters as Senior Fair Board members met Thursday to begin planning for the 2010 edition.
Finances and farewells; trees, water and building issues, all were discussed at the lengthy meeting.
Outgoing treasurer, Garry Aller, prefaced his final financial report with regrets it was not better news.
"We started this year great. After the first four days we were $6,000 ahead of last year," Aller told his fellow board members.
Then the bottom fell out as the temperature rose and Aller said, the fair ended the week more than $9,000 under the previous year.
"We were doing real good until the hot weather hit," he added.
"This was the worst Saturday I remember," board member Dale Brown added.
For at least the second consecutive year, the Saturday night concert did not have the attendance desired. Directly, the Little Big Town Concert showed a loss of more than $23,000. That figure does not include gate admissions, which cannot be traced directly to the concert-goers, which helps to offset some of that loss.
Other entertainment did close to previous years, and showed modest profits, although most areas were down a bit from 2008.
Item after item on Aller's list was followed by the words, "down from last year."
The treasurer did indicate they were not alone, and in fact, better off than some other county fairs. He noted one saving grace for the board this year, was the added income they received as a host for many of the recent motor coach convention attendees.
Without that income next year, Aller predicted a difficult time for the new treasurer to prepare a budget that would meet the needs of the fairgrounds and the various departments.
He thus offered some recommendations to help increase the income.
His first suggestion would be to raise the membership tickets from $18 to $22. He indicated the general standard is to set this price for a break-even point in the fourth day of equivalent daily entry fees. Based on the $6 gate admission, a membership fee is paid for in three days.
His second recommendation was to raise the one-hour pass fee to $10. For those not familiar, persons can purchase a one-hour pass which is time-stamped. If they exit the fairgrounds within one hour, they get their entry fee refunded in full. Aller indicated some individuals have discovered a way to more or less beat the system and use multiple one-hour passes to thus spend several hours on the fairgrounds without paying a dime.
The purpose of the pass was to help vendors and concessionaires by allowing people to attend and purchase lunch, etc., without having to pay a gate admission.
He also suggested beginning a half-price admission for seniors on senior day and veterans on the veterans' day at the fair.
The final suggestion is one he knew would not be popular, but would it is in line with what many other fairs are doing. The bottom line is that a $3 entry for a full day of entertainment is certainly affordable and reasonable.
Prior to his report, the board raised storage and camping rates to better bring the board's charges in line with others.
In other action the board:
¥ Heard the resignation letter of Joe Stockwell who will be leaving due to "personal reasons" after 12 years of working on the fairgrounds.
¥ Approved giving a lifetime membership to the fair to retiring secretary Joanne Spoerl and her husband, Paul.
¥ Approved spending $2,000 for new trees to replace some which have been removed due to diseases, etc. They will also seek matching funds from the Northwest Ohio Tractor Pullers Association. They would also like to see members of the public offer donations to purchase trees in honor or memory of friends and families.
¥ Heard about and/or discussed problems of heat in the goat barns, needed upgrades in the Fine Arts Building, and water leakage in two separate lines.
¥ Approved the formation of a personnel committee to refine and/or revise job descriptions, etc.
¥ Heard about possible new events being considered for the Home and Garden World, including an ice cream day and chicken day.
¥ Heard several advertisers are already lined up for the construction of a second marquee sign to be installed along Haskins Road.
¥ Recognized Aller and Spoerl separately with ovations.
Many of the financial decisions need to be made quickly as materials must be submitted or printed very soon.
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