Fairgrounds building to be funded with donations

Boone County will not hold a bond election for financing the majority of cost for a new $3 million agriculture and education building on the fairgrounds.
Instead, project supporters are confident that a $1.7 million fund-raising effort for the building project will succeed.
During a portion of their meeting Monday, Aug. 20, County Commissioners said they have already agreed to fund the remaining $1.3 million of the project cost from the Inheritance Tax fund.
“A lot has changed since our last meeting on this project, and donations have been going very well,” said Commission Chairman Ken Luettel in opening the meeting with about 30 county residents present.
Kevin Rasmussen announced the committee had received pledge commitments for $795,000 in donations toward matching the $850,000 commitment from Niewohner Brothers. The pledges have come from about 40 sources so far, and will be paid over time spans ranging up to 10 years.
“It is very impressive what you have done on fund-raising,” Commissioner Alan Rasmussen told supporters.
Jeff Jarecki, attorney for the Boone County Agricultural Society, said a 501(c)(3) entity is to be formed in the near future, so that all contributions will be tax deductible. He estimated this process will be completed within 30 to 90 days.
The ag society is waiting for the non-profit organization to be formed before applying for grants.
Jarecki also noted that bids opened at the end of June will only be valid for a limited time, so a decision to proceed is needed.
Andy Forney, vice president with financing agent D. A. Davidson, said the county can bond under regulation 23120, with donated funds to be placed in a special account to repay bonds. With the county involved as a “backstop,” lower interest rates would be available to finance the project, he said.
Forney said the finance plan could include an option to repay the bonds early with no penalty. He said a lease-purchase agreement between the county and the ag society is also possible.
County Attorney Jim Ely said he had studied the proposal and talked with other attorneys, including Mike Rogers of Gilmore & Bell. Ely cautioned that the pledge agreements for this project must be in writing and signed by the donor to assure the payments. These agreements would need to be enforced, he said.

Read the complete story in the Aug. 22 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.