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County will get legal opinions on finance plan for building

Front elevation of the proposed new fairgrounds building.
Front elevation of the proposed new fairgrounds building.
Boone County Commissioners decided Monday to seek legal opinions on its original financing plan for the proposed agriculture and education building at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
That plan would have given authority to the County Ag Society to borrow up to $2.95 million for the project and repay the loan through a special building fund.
The remaining $1.3 million of the estimated $4.25 million total cost would have come from the county’s Inheritance Tax fund.
Commission Chairman Ken Luettel had referred to an opinion he had received from an attorney with the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO), stating the commissioners cannot authorize the County Ag Society to borrow funds.
Jeff Jarecki, attorney for the County Ag Society, said the ag society has a conflicting opinion on that issue.
Chuck Rolf, representing the ag society and the building planning committee, suggested the commissioners get an opinion on this issue from the attorney representing the Nebraska Association of Fair Board Managers.
Jarecki suggested attorneys representing all pertinent organizations could get together on a conference call for discussion.
Chairman Luettel opened the Monday discussion by stating that he does not want to see the project die, but wants to put it to a vote of the people.
“I would prefer to have it at the fall (general) election,” he said. “That would give both sides enough time to prepare and educate the people.”
“We need to be responsive to our constituents, and this would be the responsive thing to do,” said Luettel. He suggested that information meetings be held in all county communities.
Commissioner Hilary Maricle said the board’s action on Jan. 16 to rescind the financing plan left the planning committee and ag society in limbo.
“We told them to go ahead, and then we stopped it,” she said. “Are we going to reimburse them for the money they’ve spent? Will the county take on the cost of final architectural drawings and getting the project to (the bid phase)?”
Commissioner Alan Rasmussen said he wants to get to the final numbers so everyone knows the costs and tax requirements.
Read more in the Jan. 31 Albion News and Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.