By Diane Graff of the Daily Times staff
JUNEAU – A $25,000 donation for restroom facilities at the Dodge County fairgrounds was approved by the Dodge County Board of Supervisors Thursday night.
The donation will be made to the Dodge County Fair Association, a stockholder group that operates the fairgrounds and organizes the annual fair event.
Supervisors raised several questions prior to the 30-3 vote, with Supervisor MaryAnn Miller of Beaver Dam abstaining. Voting in opposition were supervisors Paul Marose of Juneau, Dean Fuller of Waupun and Eugene Wurtz of Mayville.
Marose said the facility, located east of Beaver Dam on state Highway 33, is underutilized.
Wurtz argued the funding should have been included in the 2010 budget. “Why was this not in the budget?” he asked. “It came in this late and it should not be acknowledged.”
Although Supervisor Jeff Schmitt of Beaver Dam voted in favor of the donation, he questioned the donation when other county departments made cutbacks for this year. “We trim on this end and are generous on that end,” he said.
Many supervisors praised the work of the fair board.
Supervisor Jeff Berres of the town of Shields questioned the ownership of the facility and the financial status of the organization.
The county was not aware of the funding request when the budget was approved in November 2009, Dodge County board Chairman Russell Kottke said. The Dodge County Fair is administrated and operated by the fair association, an entity separate from the county.
The fair board owns the property, but the county does own the youth building on the site. Several years ago, bathroom facilities were added to the youth building. Financial information was not disclosed during the discussion.
The county did provide $24,500 in the 2010 budget for the upcoming junior fair portion of the event, Kottke said.
“Dodge County does not want to get into the fair business,” Kottke said.
“We are getting a good deal on running the fair,” Supervisor Dave Frohling of Watertown said. “Other counties are spending more money to run a fair,” he pointed out.
The total cost of the restroom construction is about $145,000, Frohling said.
“It is a bargain for us,” Supervisor Bill Nass of the town of Emmet said about the donation. “If we had to run a fair, it would cost more. I think we need to support this.” Nass said many residents attend the fair and other activities on the grounds. The fairgrounds also hosts many other 4-H activities and racing events.
“We are pleased with the board’s decision,” fair association board President Jim Schoenike said following the meeting. Soil tests are currently being done on the land south of the grandstand, where the new restroom facility is being proposed, he said. “We want to make sure the septic system will pass.”
There are a couple more hurdles before the project becomes a reality, Schoenike said. “But we would like to have it ready for the 2010 fair,” he added.
The association also received verbal commitment for funds from the Farm Technology Days and 4-H Leaders Association.
The project includes razing the restroom facilities south of the grandstand and construction of a facility twice the current size. The current 1,000-square-foot facility would be increased to 1,500 square feet.
The larger restrooms would still not handle all the crowds during the fair, Schoenike said. Portable toilet facilities would still be placed around the grounds.
Original article at: Watertown Daily Times | wdtimes.com