Commissioners table action on bond for fairgrounds building

Front elevation of the proposed new fairgrounds building.

Supporters say donated funds could cover building costs

After a lengthy discussion Wednesday, July 25, Boone County Commissioners tabled action that would call for a November bond election on the proposed agriculture and education building on the fairgrounds.
Decisions by the commissioners on engaging a bond underwriter and proceeding with a bond election will now be delayed until their Aug. 20 meeting.
Supporters of the $3 million project came to the board with news of successful fund-raising efforts that could bring some $900,000 in donation pledges to the project.
Bill Robinson, a member of the building planning committee, said one large donor had pledged $850,000 in matching funds to the project over a 10-year period.
Other donors have also stepped forward in the past several days, bringing the total commitment to $900,000.
Request to Rescind Motion
In light of this fund-raising progress, the Boone County Agricultural Society asked the commissioners to rescind their previous motion to proceed with a bond issue, and to take alternative action to fund the project directly.
Commissioners had voted July 16 to proceed with a $2 million bond election to fund the project, which would also require $1 million from the county’s Inheritance Tax fund.
Finance Plan
Most of Wednesday’s discussion involved the financing scenarios for the project.
“The biggest change is the competitive bids we received,” said Robinson. “I think we can work through the mechanics of this (alternative funding).”
Robinson asked the county board to consult with Craig Jones of First National Capital Markets, Omaha, on a financing plan. He suggested financing could work in similar fashion to the commissioners’ 2009 resolution to finance the courthouse renovation.
In discussion, it was noted that the fairgrounds land is owned by the county and not the ag society. A suggestion was made that ownership of the land where this building is located could be transferred to the ag society.
Complete story will be in the Aug. 1 Albion News.