Lance Lange represented the Wayne County Fair Board as he attended the Feb. 11 Board of Supervisors meeting. Lange informed the supervisors of the fair’s interest in purchasing more land for the fairgrounds use.
Last fall Lange attended a Board of Supervisors meeting where he spoke with the board regarding the fair wanting more land. At that time the supervisors asked him to look further into grant money that would possibly assist in this purchase.
“I was visiting with Denise here and at this time there are no grants available to purchase land, but there are grants available to develop land,” Lange informed the board. “What we are asking is we sold the land off to the school on the north for $77,000 and some change and you guys gave $25,000 of that to the fair. We wondered if you guys would be willing to purchase that 3.17 (acres) land for the fair to develop it.”
“You guys currently own the fairgrounds so we hate to go buy the property then have two entities, since the fairgrounds needs to be kept as one entity, it doesn’t need to be in two different deals.”
“What are you planning on doing with that (the land)?” asked Supervisor David Dotts.
“It will be a multi-step process,” Lange began. “Eventually move the campgrounds over to that area out of the horseshoe and up next to the old bathrooms so we can eventually work with a different show ring, new bathhouse/shower house, more parking and as our outside displays have grown drastically over the last few years so we would like to be able to keep those up closer to the front.”
“Do you have an idea of how much the school is going to want for it?” asked Supervisor Duffy Kester.
“According to Dave Daughton, he said he can’t speak for the board but he was going to make the strong recommendation of what they gave for it for the property per acre,” Lange answered. “ He thought that was around $4,200 an acre.”
“And they bought how many acres?” Supervisor Tom Swearingin questioned.
“They bought 35,” said Lange.
“You’re not looking at the full 35?” asked Wayne County Auditor Michelle Dooley.
“No we want about 3.1 to 3.2, somewhere in there?” Lange said.
“Are you sure that’s going to be enough for ya?” asked Swearingin.
“Well that’s all they are willing to part with at this time, so it will be enough,” said Lange. “We have some other board members that said man they’d sure like to have some access out to that north road from back there but well, they’re not willing to sell that.”
“How many camp spots can you get in there?” Dotts asked.
“We can move approximately 35 camp spots back in there,” Lange said.
“So you thought it was around $4,500 an acre?” said Swearingin.
“Well, 42 but figure 45 on the high side,” said Lange. “My rough numbers in figuring was $15,000 for easy figuring, and if it’s less than that it’s less than that.”
“And when would you want to have us get this sale approved?” asked Kester.
“They would like to know before they plan their crop,” said Lange. “And we would like to seed it down sometime this spring, so I’m saying by April first.”
“We we are in budget process right now, so let us get that fairly well done so we can see where we are with monies and see if there isn’t something we could do,” said Kester.
“It sounds like it will need to be an amendment to this year’s budget,” Dooley mentioned. “If they purchase this land for the $15,000 does the fair board have any room for their allocation for fiscal year 2020 to offset this purchase?”
“As far as the funds the county gives to the fair board, I don’t know about that,” Lange said.
“Because in the past it’s been 10 thousand,” Dooley added.
“Well that is one of the lowest allocations around of any county fair board,” Lange began. “I’d hate to see it go any lower than that as this is the one thing that serves the whole county as a function and activity so I would hate to see it go any less.”
“So what happened to the remaining $50,000 that the fair didn’t receive when you guys sold the fairgrounds?” Lange asked.
“It went into the general fund I would imagine,” Kester answered.
“I can’t answer that,” Dooley stated.
“So then that’s what we need to find out then because they sold the land for $77,000 and I can’t remember the change, but they sold the land off to the school and the fair got $25,000 of that money,” said Lange. “And that land was originally deeded to the fairgrounds in 1922 to hold an ag fair and there was a lease out there to let the school build and that land had been put over into the county’s name to avoid having to pay taxes on it.”
“There was a contract that stated we would take care of the grounds, maintain the grounds and upkeep, pay the insurance and mowing and with the insurance and mowing we are somewhere right at $14,000 just to keep that.”
“Do you know when that sale was?” Dooley asked.
“They just looked it up this morning and they said it was fall of 2011, spring of 2012,” Lange answered. “Both parties are interested and both parties are willing to work it out and the ag program is in favor of it.”
“Would you talk to them about running that easement down a bit further and that would take care of a big problem there and find out how much that would cost us then,” said Kester. “We will get the budget put together and see if there is any money left anywhere.”
“I’m afraid this is a once in a lifetime deal, since they are wanting some money and I think it might not happen again,” Lange said. “They’re trying to figure out how to come up with money to develop so they have a place for their teaching farm and they are willing to sacrifice three acres of land. I really never figured this opportunity would come up again.”
“We will try to help you get that bought,” Kester said.
It was decided for Lange to attend a scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on April 8 where they can have him on agenda to discuss this issue again.
Wayne County Assistant Engineer Dan Carpenter informed the board several surrounding counties were running low on salt.
“We have good facilities and a good stock pile so we are probably at 800 plus tons still,” said Carpenter. “So we are in good shape.”
Carpenter also informed the board of an upcoming title six audit where the DOT Compliance Officer will come down for assistance. The Compliance Officer will give guidance to the county and help out to avoid issues.
He also stated they were currently sending out letters for pipe bids and looking forward to an interview later in the week for the open county engineer position.
“We appreciate what you guys are doing,” Kester said. “Don’t one of you get mad and run off or we are in trouble then.”
Wayne County Treasurer Kim Swearingin informed the board she was contacted regarding an individual being interested in a piece of parcel in Seymour city limits that dates back to the 2011 tax sale. Swearingin noted there have been no taxes collected on the parcel for nearly nine years.
“The certificate could be assigned to him and he has been working on this for three years and he was working with the City of Seymour trying to get the city to take deed to it,” Swearingin continued. “At this point in time there is $654 in taxes alone, $360 in specials and he is not interested in paying the full $654”
“At one point the city said if they took it over they would offer it for $100 so that is about all he is willing to pay, but the one thing we have to take into consideration is we have nine years of taxes being unpaid,” said Swearingin. “If we would accept his offer or ask a little more and abate the rest of it then we would at least get it back on the taxes.”
Following Swearingin making a phone call to the interested party, the board agreed to accept the offer of $100 along with the expenses of $59.42. It was approved to accept $159.42, abate the unpaid taxes, specials and interest and get the land back on the tax roll.
Swearingin also requested the deposit amount to People’s Bank be increased from $1,000,000 up to $5,000,000. She stated there is close to $1,000,000 in the account currently and if they were to go over that amount it could create a write up from the state auditor.
She informed the board People’s Bank is currently the highest paying interest depository bank. The board approved this request.
Wayne County Assessor Brandon Carpenter requested the board approve 16 new rural tax abatements. Following the applications meeting the requirements, the board approved all 16 rural tax abatements.
Kester read the oath of office to new Deputy Auditors Tiena Lewis and Abby Freeman. Lewis and Freeman will work 32 hours weekly and receive 80% benefits.
Wayne County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Byrns informed the board Wayne County is now approved by FEMA for the Flood Plain Application. This allows help from FEMA with road assistance should they need to be involved.
Swearingin and Dotts didn’t have any meetings to report on at this time, however Kester gave an update on the public health meeting he attended.
“I’ve got this ongoing circus going at public health and you can quote that if you want because that’s what it is,” Kester began. “It’s very confusing and it’s probably because I’m old and can’t figure things out but we are trying to get someone hired to be the administrator of public health.”
“How much did we the supervisors cut from public health budget?” Kester asked.
Dooley answered, “$45,000 is what we are going to support.”
“So we will see what they can do with that,” Kester said. “I’m sure they can’t continue with those high salary hours because if they do they are going to have to cut down to one person to answer the phone and one nurse and one nurse cannot do that.”
“We are going to interview three people, but they have not submitted applications,” Kester continued. “Makes no sense but we will see what happens.”
Kester mentioned he has been in contact with Lucas County who has decertified and things are working for them, but at this time Wayne County is not interested in doing the same.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.