Voters to decide on fairgrounds building

Floor plan of proposed agriculture and education building on the fairgrounds.

By Jim Dickerson
Boone County voters will decide the fate of a proposed new county fairgrounds livestock building in November.
With action Monday, July 16, Boone County Commissioners determined that a $2 million bond election on the building will be held in conjunction with the countywide general election on Nov. 6.
More than 35 county residents were on hand for the 9 a.m. meeting, where little public comment was allowed.
Chuck Rolf, a member of both the Ag Society Board and building planning committee, started by reading a request from the fair board asking for approval of the building project to provide additional educational activities for families and youth of the area.
He referred to the fair board’s 2016-17 financial statement, which showed some $590,000 in total receipts, with only $120,358 coming from property taxes.
Based on this activity, and the average turnover of each dollar in the local economy, the fairgrounds operations generate about $3.5 million in annual economic activity, he said.
Commissioners approved a motion to accept the proposal received from the Ag Society.
Six bids were received for the total project at an Ag Society bid opening June 29. The apparent low bid was from Rathman Manning Corp. of Chapman, NE, at $2,996,035 with 455 construction days. Second low bid was from Bierman Contracting, Inc. of Columbus at $2,997,300 with 325 construction days. The bids are valid for 30 days from the bid opening date.
The low bids were under $55 per square foot, and included radiant heat for the livestock arena. The low bids were more than $1 million under the previous architect’s estimate.
Ken Luettel, commission chairman, said at this time he favors the building but does not favor including the Extension office. He added that he would favor a bond election and would oppose one of the proposed options, which was to transfer ownership of the fairgrounds real estate to the ag society.
Commissioner Alan Rasmussen agreed that the project should go to a bond election. “I think this has a good chance of passing,” he said.

Read the complete story in the July 18 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.