The Franklin County commissioners found a way to give the community partners a chance for an increase in funding for future years by drawing the Franklin County Ag Society funding from the transient guest tax fund.
“I am not for taking away from one of the others to bump one up,” Rick Howard, county commissioner chair, said during Wednesday’s meeting. “I feel they are one that should be taken out of community partners. They are eligible for Transient Guest Tax funds. The reasons for that is because it is hard to give one organization more money and tell other community partners we are not going to raise those. The fair is growing and bringing in more people. We can go up a little bit with transient guest tax.”
The commissioners decided to remain flat on the ad valorem tax dedicated to the other community partners and gave the ag society a $790 raise to $14,000 to come out of the TGT fund. The amount given to the partners totaled $656,776 with $16,000 of it coming out of the TGT fund.
“I would prefer to do that,” Howard said. “Our [TGT] account is in pretty good shape.”
Derek Brown, county administrator/counselor, said the TGT fund is one that can’t be controlled by the county.
“We can’t control the number of people that stay in our hotels,” he said. “The only thing that scares me with TGT funds is that it is unpredictable. If you look at trends, am I concerned that it is going to plummet, I am not. If anything, it is going to keep growing.”
All the commissioners were impressed with the new leadership of the fair board.
Brown said commissioner Colt Waymire, who missed the meeting, indicated to him that he liked the direction of the fair.
Commissioner Ianne Dickinson said helping 4-H kids should be a priority.
“This is one that serves a lot of our kids,” she said. “The $14,000 brings them back to where they were in 2012. I don’t know what happened to bring them down because they were up to over $17,000.”
Brown said each of the representatives of the organizations made good presentations to the board earlier this month.
“We asked each of them to provide a little more information specifically how they use the funding,” Brown said. “Hopefully what each of them provided has been enhanced this year.”
Brown said the amounts agreed upon will not be final until the 2020 county budget process is completed this summer.
“It is all pending on the 2020 budget,” Brown said. “Since I have been here I don’t believe we have changed these amounts once the board has agreed on that.”
Each of the organization amounts for the 2020 budget year are as follows:
• Franklin County Conservation District, $45,000.
• Franklin County Ag Society, $14,000 (all coming out of TGT fund).
• Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, $40,776.
• CASA, $15,000.
• Elizabeth Layton Center, $175,000.
• COF, $95,000.
• Franklin County Historical Society, $71,000 ($2,000 coming from TGT fund).
• Franklin County Services for the Elderly, $201,000.