The annual Davis County Fair is in jeopardy this year because the new fair site has no drinking water, electricity, display buildings or restroom facilities, County Commissioner William "Dub" Lawrence said Monday.
Lawrence said the $60,000 budget set aside for the fair is not sufficient to bring in the needed utilities and buildings and asked for guidance from fellow commissioners William Peters and Gayle Stevenson.The county last year bought 57 acres in West Farmington for a fair and equestrian center, adjacent to the site of the new 400-bed County Jail that will begin construction this summer.
The fair is scheduled in late August - just six months away, Lawrence said, but the site has no facilities on it.
A master plan for fair and exposition facilities has been drawn up by the county's planning department, but Lawrence said Monday no permits or approvals for construction have been obtained from Farmington City, which annexed the jail and fair site earlier this year.
Lawrence, who was given supervision of the fair as one of his duties when he took office in January, implied he was given charge of the county departments suffering the most from budget cuts.
But Stevenson pointed out that when the county's 1989 budget was drawn up last fall, the fair's $60,000 was not cut as a sign of the county's commitment to the project.
All other departments, including his, were subjected to budget cuts, Stevenson countered, without any consideration for which commissioner supervised the department.
Lawrence raised the issue because he said hundreds of volunteers have already donated labor and materials worth more than $40,000 to construct a horse racing track on the site.
They are committed to further donations, Lawrence said, but need guidance from the county and a firm plan. The commissioner said he examined a surplus building in Roy last week that could be purchased and moved onto the site for use as an indoor arena, but wants direction from the rest of the commission.
Stevenson and Peters urged Lawrence to draw up estimates on what it will cost to buy and move the building, as opposed to constructing a new one. They also told him the county should look at the possibility of suspending the fair for a year and using this year's budgeted funds to build facilities to house the fair next year.
"You'll have to study the alternatives and make recommendations on what to do this year, commission chairman Peters told Lawrence. "That will have to include maybe letting the fair go for a year to build the facilities we need. But it's your department, it's your call."
The fair was held for the past four years on the campus of Davis High School in Kaysville, but neither the county nor the school district were satisfied with the arrangement and agreed the 1988 event would be the last at the site.
In a related action, the commission agreed to draw up an agreement with two county residents to continue to grow and harvest hay on the unused portion of the fairgrounds site.
County property manager Ralph Wilcox said the previous property owners had a share agreement with two local ranchers to lease the land to grow hay. Under the proposed agreement, the ranchers will get 60 percent of the crop and the county 40 percent, with the county's share going to feed impounded livestock at the animal shelter.
The county is also looking into leasing the infield of the horse racing track as a sod farm, eventually using its share of the sod to landscape the new jail and the park to be built along Farmington Creek.
Growing sod is expensive and competitive, Wilcox told the commission, requiring an investment in seed, fertilizer, and irrigation and sod-cutting equipment.