Metro’s first-ever fairgrounds subsidy key to facility’s future
Faced with thinning reserve funds, Tennessee State Fair Director Buck Dozier is hoping for $245,000 in Metro dollars to sustain operations, an allocation that would represent the city’s first-ever fairgrounds subsidy.
Revenue collected from fairgrounds events –– the annual state fair, auto-racing events and flea markets –– has historically provided the financial backing to run the city-owned fairgrounds. But Dozier told Mayor Karl Dean and his administration Monday that the fairgrounds would need to find a place within Metro’s operating budget to ensure its short-term welfare. read more
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My View: The city has never before subsidized the Fairground. Mr. Dozier makes a good argument that the Fair Board must have a subsidy explaining that they have been staying afloat by drawing down reserves. When the Council conducts their budget hearings, the Budget and Finance Committee should look long and hard at the Fairgrounds budget before going down the road of subsidizing the fairground. If the current Fair Board can not make the fairgrounds operation break even, then maybe it is time for a new Director and management team. I cannot believe, that since the fairgrounds is paid for, that income cannot cover expenses. I would want to know, when was the last time the Fair Board was audited. Is the current management team committed to making the fairground a success or are they committed to having the fairgrounds fail so the city can dispose of the property?