Editor’s note: This is the final of a four-part discussion regarding a Nov. 3 referendum to enact a tax levy of one-quarter of one percent for relocating the Gallia County fairgrounds. Part three of this discussion appeared in last Sunday’s edition of the Times-Sentinel.
The Gallia County Junior Fair Board has distributed a “frequently asked questions” brochure to many in the community, held several public meetings and spoken with numerous groups about their proposal. Junior Fair Board members Brent Eastman, Tim Massie and volunteer Jodie Penrod sat down with the Daily Tribune to discuss the proposed tax increase on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Daily Tribune: Over the last three weeks we’ve addressed questions regarding the tax levy, facilities both new and old and what the new facilities would mean for Gallia County. Would you sum up your feelings on the proposal and why you believe this is important for Gallia County.
Jodie McCalla Penrod: Relocating the fairgrounds is not only beneficial to our youth and fair goers, it’s an opportunity for our community as a whole. Having a relocated fairgrounds would allow those facilities to be rented year round, which would mean more visitors, and in turn, more spending and jobs to Gallia County.
The sales tax is the best and most fair way to help move the fairgrounds. Anyone traveling through Gallia County would pay a sales tax. In addition, 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales tax goes directly to the fair relocation. Once that is paid off, the additional sales tax would drop according to the legal resolution approved by the commissioners. We expect that to be in 12-14 years.
If you put it into perspective, if you have ever said “keep the change” when you’ve paid for something and had a few pennies left over, you’ve essentially just helped move the fairgrounds. It’s a small investment with a large return for our community and the youth.
Tim Massie: Now that we have schools built for our youth, to me the next important concern is relocating the fairgrounds for the safety of our youth and our community. We realize this is a large amount of money and many seem to think it is just for one week of the year. Once this facility is complete there will be a potential of attracting events and activities throughout the remainder of the year. This is the reality of this project, that is, to bring these activities and events to Gallia County where our residents can enjoy and where we can bring visitors into Gallia County which will give us the economic benefit that we have referred to throughout this project. I want to make sure that everyone understands that this is a sales tax of only one-quarter of 1 percent. This question has come up numerous times. Also, every penny that is collected from this one-quarter of 1 percent sales tax goes towards the relocation of the fairgrounds and does not go into the fair’s general fund nor the commissioners funds. This question comes up at about every activity we have attended when promoting the relocation project. The last point I want to make which is another frequent topic is that when the project is completely paid for the sales tax will stop. If you read the ballot language when you cast your vote, you will see that it is stated this way.
Many years of hard work have gone in to making the Gallia County Junior Fair what it is today. Many have made it possible for hundreds or thousands of us to participate in the annual fair and now it is our turn to do the same for the future. You can make it possible for our youth by casting your yes vote for the one-quarter of 1 percent sales tax on Nov. 3.
Fair board member Brent Eastman, was not available to contribute to this part of the series.