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County fair funding

August 10, 2012
The Daily News

EDITOR:Facts are facts and the truth is the truth. Recently in a printed ad for a local politician, it stated this politician had the Iron County Fair Board audited for the first time by the Iron County Board.

This is not true, the Iron County Fair Board has never been audited by the Iron County Board. It was also brought to the attention of the Iron County Board by a local attorney who represented the Iron County Fair Board (pro-bono) for free. That, by law, the Iron County Board can not audit the Iron County Fair Board.

Also at every Fair Board meeting (which are open to the public) a monthly financial report is made available to everyone and is also given to the county board representative, and at the end of each year an annual statement is not only give to the county but also by law to the state of Michigan.

As for the Iron County taxpayers subsidizing the Iron County Fair. This also is not true. In 2007, Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Legislature ended the subsidy to Michigan county fairs that paid for fair premiums. Then in 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped a capital improvement program to fairs. If a fair came up with $15,000, the Agriculture Department would match it with $15,000 for capital improvements only (i.e. repairing roofs, buildings, ground improvements).

Finally in the spring of 2012 an agreement was reached between the Iron County Board and the Iron County Fair Board ending the policy where the county collected funds from the rental of space at the fairgrounds and returned $5,000 a year to the Fair Board for annual startup funds. Under the new agreement, the county is totally out of Fair Board funding by allowing the Fair Board to collect and keep all rental funds and use that money for startup funds and fairground utilities.

Some years the Iron County Fair loses money, some years it breaks even and some years it makes money. If the fair makes money, this money goes into CDs, which are used for improvement at the fairgrounds, such as fixing the road up to the rotunda, improving the parking areas, new roof on buildings, the new blacktopped walkway from the ticket booth to the grandstand, etc.


James Shepich

Chairman, Iron County Fair Board




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