GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners and Gallia County Junior Fair Board representatives discussed the possibility of adding a countywide sales tax increase in order to fund the potential relocation of the fairgrounds.
Gallia County Junior Fair representatives Jodi Penrod and Tim Massey spoke with county commissioners and county legal adviser Dennis Schwallie at a Thursday meeting to discuss the possibility of a quarter percent sales tax increase to aid the fair relocation fund. According to information gathered from the meeting, the Gallia County Junior Fair Board can petition the county board of elections in order to aim for a November 2015 or March 2016 election in hopes of approving the tax by public vote.
According to the meeting, depending on how the issue is handled, hearings may need to be held a few weeks apart to enlighten the public as to the specifics of the upcoming election and how the money would be used to help the fair cause.
According to Gallia County Administrator Karen Sprague, a quarter percent sales tax brings in over $900,000 in revenue. In a public May meeting held by the fair board, the board estimated the relocation of the fairgrounds and new facilities to loosely cost around $9 million.
County commissioners may need to pass a resolution to specify how the sales tax will be spent and how the language of the issue would fit on an election ballot.
Sprague estimated the quarter percent tax increase would create more money than needed to help pay the bond costs for the fair relocation if bonds are used to help pay for construction.
According to meeting information, the extra money would then be located in the county’s general fund unless the language of the resolution is worded differently. At 4 percent interest and at a twenty-year debt repayal period, $695,000 would need to be repaid annually. According to the information gathered at the meeting, if the money gathered is split between the fair relocation and county public hearings will need to be had. The state requires that a quarter percent be the smallest increment at which a sales tax can be issued.
The relocation of the fairgrounds has been a controversial topic over the years. Fair board members ideally aim to hold future fair events in the Gallia County Junior Fair campground sit,e as the ground level there is higher and not in a floodplain.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.