Cass commission cuts fair funding
The Red River Valley Fair Association will receive $100,000 from Cass County in 2008, county commissioners decided Wednesday. The fair, a nonprofit organization, had requested about $104,000 in funding, the same as it received for this year's fai...
The Red River Valley Fair Association will receive $100,000 from Cass County in 2008, county commissioners decided Wednesday.
The fair, a nonprofit organization, had requested about $104,000 in funding, the same as it received for this year's fair. The money is used to cover premiums for exhibits during the annual June fair and for the fair to purchase liability insurance.
County Commissioner Ken Pawluk questioned why the county provides any funding to the fair. Besides the annual funding, the county also pays the fair's special assessments for the Sheyenne Diversion.
Pawluk also said the fairgrounds aren't as nice as those at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, N.D., or the Minnesota State Fair in the Twin Cities, and he thinks the this year's fair held in June fell short of expectations.
"We're spending a lot of money out there and I would like to feel good about the money that we spend," Pawluk said.
Fair Board President Darnell Lundstrom said during the discussion that the organization has been working to improve the fair.
In addition, he and Wayne Venter, the fair's new manager, highlighted some changes made at the fair since the revelation nearly two years ago that fair was using shoddy cash-handling procedures.
Venter instated a purchase order system and now approves all expenses. The fair has standard rental rates for all buildings, he said.
Last year, Widmer Roel auditors didn't give the fair a clean bill of health - but only because they weren't able to in 2005 Lundstrom said.
"This year, based on the fact that we had thorough audits the last two years, we should be OK," he said.
County Commissioner Darrell Vanyo said that he sees Pawluk's point, though he also finds value in the support the county has provided to the fair.
He said he was hesitant to dramatically shift funding to the fair.
"Changes downward would have to be well thought out," Vanyo said.
He moved, and Commissioner Robyn Sorum seconded, a motion to give the fair $100,000, about the same amount the fair spent on liability insurance and fair premiums this year.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556