GALLIPOLIS — After the proposed sales tax levy for the relocation of the Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds failed to be approved by voters general in the Nov. 3 election, fair board members have received approval from Gallia County Commissioners to place it on the ballot in March.
Gallia County voters on Nov. 3 declined a one-quarter of 1 percent sales tax increase added to goods and services throughout the county. The results of the vote as of that evening said 3,936 voters approved of the levy and 4,126 voted against it. Nearly 51 percent of the vote were negative votes and roughly 48 percent voted yes. With such a close margin — roughly 190 votes — fair board members felt they might have better luck a second time with the vote.
Fair board members Paul Shoemaker and Tim Massie approached Gallia County Commissioners with the request to place the levy back on upcoming ballots.
“We have consulted with our tax preparation expert and he has forwarded to us the needed documents,” said commissioner David Smith. “I believe at that point what we would need to do is make a motion to approve placing (the tax levy issue) upon the ballot.”
Smith moved on the issue and vice-president Harold Montgomery seconded. All commissioners approved the motion.
“My discussion is good luck. You came close,” Smith said to board members. “But close only counts in hand grenades. We will see what happens.”
Board members have been campaigning for the fair’s relocation and construction of new fair facilities over the course of the year. Should a sales tax levy pass and the one-quarter of 1 percent increase be added to the sales tax, it would generate roughly $900,000 to be forwarded to paying off debt service generated by the relocation project costs.
“The version of the Gallia County Junior Fair that we know now was revitalized in 1950,” said Massie earlier in the year. “It was once held in various locations in town. I believe it was held at an implement dealer and the old airport. In 1956, Evans Grocery Co. donated land and then we held the first fair on (the current) site that same year.”
Massie said with bonds used for the fair relocation, taxpayers would potentially pay the one-quarter of a 1 percent increase over a 20-year period. The relocation effort aims to pay the debt off sooner. The longest projected tax period would be over the next 20 years but could be potentially paid off in as little as 14 years.
According to Massie, once the fair relocation is completed, the tax increase wold cease to exist. All money collected from the tax would be directed to paying off the fair debt service.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.