By Donna Westfall – August 21, 2018 – At this morning’s Daily Town Hall Meeting – open to the public – held from 6-7 am at the Fisherman’s Restaurant, Linda Sutter, announced her run for the Fairgrounds 1/4 cent sales tax Board.
We discussed the ’17-’18 Grand Jury report concerning the two Fairground Boards. Let’s distinguish one from the other:
First there’s the 41st Board (41st). Those members are appointed by the Governor. Some current members have been on the board for a decade and some going on two decades or longer.
Then 4 years ago, we elected members to the 1/4 cent sales tax fairgrounds board (LOCAL BOARD). They serve four years and then they’re up for re-election. The sales tax was voted in to keep the fair going and the whole reason for creating the LOCAL BOARD.
There were a few questions raised about the transfers of money. Having taken in $54,000 a MONTH from the 1/4 cent sales tax, the County got in about $1.9 million when they transferred nearly $1.3 million to the LOCAL BOARD, meanwhile the County is retaining 30% for reserves. The reserves are to keep the Fair operational beyond the seven years when the sales tax ends. Keep in mind that the State stopped funding the 41st at $200,000/year.
The LOCAL BOARD has kept nearly $360,000 in reserves. The LOCAL BOARD has transferred or spent $921,000. Nobody seemed willing to disclose exactly what happened to that $921,000. It’s a wonder that the Grand Jury couldn’t get that information. After all, they have access to all kinds of records and personnel. Why couldn’t they get that information? Were they told to stop investigating? If yes, by whom? Could it be – Presiding Judge Follett? Has this happened before on other Grand Jury investigations?
But, here’s the recommendation expressed by the Grand Jury report. “R7. The Local Board should provide more detailed accounting of income, expenditures, and transfers to provide greater transparency and accountability to the public.”
Oh, yawn. How many times have we heard that before? The question needs to be: FAIRGROUNDS BOARDS…. when will you start posting these things on your website as you indicated you would do years ago? Are you hiding something? If you’re not hiding anything, then why didn’t you provide an accounting to the Grand Jury?????
CORRECTION: AUGUST 30, 2018 – The BOS does not respond to the Grand Jury on this matter. The following statement in italics is erroneous The Board of Supervisors has 60 days in which to respond to the Grand Jury report.
Dave Slagle, a bean counter, was foreman for the Grand Jury. He’s CEO of Hambro. He knows how to get things done. This is astounding that Slagle couldn’t get the information.
- Should a recommendation be made rescinding the 1/4 sales tax?
- Should a forensic accounting be demanded of the Fairground Boards about the $921,000?
- Should the BOS discuss on a future agenda why the Grand Jury is so ineffective?
What do you think?