Trumbull County: Commissioners aren’t trying to sell fairgrounds property to balance budget

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SALEM, Ohio – The Trumbull County fairgrounds is no smaller during this week’s fair than it was last year, despite stories circulating that say county commissioners plan to sell part of the property.
The idea had been proposed in early 2005, but no action has been taken, according to County Commissioner Daniel Polivka.
“We did look at it, but haven’t done anything. It’s still possible, but not for awhile,” Polivka said.
Not a solution. Fair board member Jan Solomon described the board as “utterly amazed” when they first heard of the commissioners’ idea to sell part of the fairgrounds last winter.
Solomon said she understood the purpose of the proposed sale was to raise money for county operating costs.
The fair board felt the county’s $6.5 million budget deficit is not likely to be helped by selling a small parcel of property, Solomon said.
Board disagrees. Fair board president Richard Roscoe said the board unanimously passed a resolution at its March 2005 meeting to ask the commissioners not to sell the property.
He said he took the minutes of that meeting to the commissioners the next morning and told them how the board felt about the proposal.
“I’m not saying it’s still not going to happen, but the only thing we can do, we’ve already done,” Roscoe said of the board’s vote.
“The land does belong to them.”
Parcels. Roscoe said the parcels commissioners looked at include 17 acres east of the fairgrounds currently used for overflow parking, and another 20 acres of swampland that includes a portion of the fairgrounds race track.
Polivka said he didn’t know if the proposal ever included selling part of the fairgrounds racetrack, but confirmed commissioners looked at the overflow parking area.
Cleaning house. Polivka says the commissioners are not interested in the business of real estate, but don’t like having property to take care of that’s unused.
“This isn’t to cure the budget,” Polivka said.
“In lean times, if we don’t need something, we’re going to look at selling it,” he said. “But if there’s a use for it or a need, we won’t sell it.”
Another approach. Roscoe says since he approached the commissioners in the spring, they’ve “softened up” in their push to sell the land.
“They put the half-percent sales tax back on. I think that’s the route they’re going to take,” Roscoe said.
Commissioner Daniel Polivka, previously a county fair board member, said the commissioners are fair-friendly and are “trying to keep the fairgrounds as nice as possible.”
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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