At today’s staff briefings, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners provided direction to staff to preserve youth, equine and agricultural activities in Jefferson County. The commissioners heard public testimony during which many community members spoke on the importance of these types of activities, that currently make up about 10 percent of what happens at the fairgrounds.
The commissioners directed staff to:
Updates will be provided to the commissioners through the year and the decision on fairgrounds operations is expected to be part of the 2021 budget development process in the fall.
The county reduced its budget in 2020 and is looking at significant cuts in the 2021 budget after voters chose not to approve Ballot Initiative 1A. Currently, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds costs the county $1.8 million annually to operate.
With the budget challenges facing the county this year and next, operations across all areas are being evaluated and explored for efficiencies, reductions and eliminations. For example, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has already released inmates early in response to the budget cuts, some transportation projects will continue to go unfunded, and other cuts are underway.
In the past, commissioners were able to use the county’s reserves to avoid budget cuts and to address the rising costs of essential county services. However, using our reserves is no longer an option. Our rainy-day fund is at its two-month minimum.
For more about the county’s budget situation, please visit our website the Financial Realities page.