Fair Board presses commissioners to help with grandstand shortfall
MANTI — With a little more than a month to go before the “drop dead” date to commit to construction of a new grandstand and other improvements Sanpete County Fairgrounds, Mike Bennett, Fair Board chairman, pressed the county commission last week for a commitment to help cover the funding shortfall on the project.
The commissioners were less than encouraging and told Bennett they would have to let him know.
At the meeting Thursday, Feb. 21, Bennett updated the commissioners on fund-raising efforts. He said fund raising was currently at $1.5 million for a projected $1.8 million budget. He expected to have three bids on the construction of the new arena within the week.
Bennett said the Fair Board had “exhausted their resources” for fund raising and needed to know what the county would do to help make up the $300,000 difference between fund raising and the project budget.
Claudia Jarrett, commission chair, asked Bennett if the Fair Board had applied for grant money to make up the difference. Bennett replied that the board had found a grant writer to write up an application. He said the grant writer’s fee would be $1,500.
Jarrett told Bennett that the Fair Board had authorization to spend money from its yearly operating budget to cover grant writing costs.
Noting that many donations had been made in pieces to be collected over time, Jarrett said that the board should look into dividing the project into phases to be completed over a number of years.
Bennett continued to ask for a commitment, telling the commission that building the grandstand and arena would take more money than the Fair Board currently had on hand. Many of the improvements are all in the same building and cannot be separated into phases, he said.
Jarrett insisted that the board would have to look into “what you can accomplish with what you have.”
Jarrett reminded Bennett that the county had already made significant contributions to the improvement project by sponsoring the CIB grant application, approving matching funds in the amount of $55,000 as part of the application, and promising in-kind contributions by agreeing to have county workers do some of the tear down at no cost to the Fair Board.
Commissioner Scott Bartholomew asked when the “drop-dead” date for signing contracts to begin the project was. Bennett said that April 1 was the latest date contractors could commit to begin. Bennett explained that bids would probably be submitted next week. He speculated that the bids would probably come in under budget, but without more funding, the Fair Board would have to cut some of the “nice stuff” out of the project.
Ultimately, Jarrett answered that the commission would have an answer for the Fair Board at their next meeting.
As part of his update, Bennett reported that he had recently attended a seminar on livestock showing. As a result of the seminar, Bennett asked what insurance coverage the fair had. He had learned that 4H insurance only covers 4H-sponsored events. Other events at the fair (such as FFA) would not be covered under 4H insurance.
County Attorney Brody Keisel said he was concerned about the insurance coverage for the fair. He worried that some of the activities, especially where children were involved, might cause an insurer to decline coverage. Keisel said he would look into the coverage and report back to the commission.
Also on hand with fair business were Don Watts and Aaron Gibson of Rocky Mountain Power. They handed over a $5,000 check made to the Fair Board for fairgrounds improvements, and specifically, for a new grandstand.
Jason Vernon and Riley Peck, of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) presented a check to the commission for DWR’s payment in lieu of taxes. This year’s payment was $12,469.73. The payment compensates the county for loss of tax revenue on DWR lands such as the White Hills Wildlife Management Area east of Ephraim and various wildlife conservation easements.
Vernon and Peck also gave a short update to the commission about DWRs efforts to monitor the deer and elk migration through Sanpete County during the winter, as well as habitat renewal along the east side of the valley.
Travis Kyhl with the Six County Association of Governments updated the commissioners on the status of the Utah Community Impact Board(CIB) project list for Sanpete County.
The last time the Kyhl appeared before the commission, he explained he was compiling a list of projects for which local governments would definitely be seeking CIB funding.
He had explained he wanted to get the entities to organize their lists of projects into two lists: a list for projects to be pursued within a year and a list for projects that would begin in 2-5 years.
Since then, Kyhl had met with the various communities in Sanpete and had had “positive” feedback from them. He said he had been explaining that the CIB wanted the list to be a “planning document,” not just a “wish list.”
Kyhl also requested that the commission set a meeting in March where all the communities would submit their final “one-year list” project requests. Not only would the meeting have input from all the communities, but Kyhl said he would need the commission to approve the final list.
The commission set the meeting for March 9, one hour prior to the Mayors and Commissioners meeting, which is scheduled to be held in Centerfield.