Board that oversees fairgrounds looks to increase revenue

awoolen@macon.comJanuary 8, 2014 

PERRY -- December was a slow month for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.

The facility hosted 15 events with 6,749 attendees, according to figures presented during Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority.

The revenue for December was $185,644, which was $242,381 short of the expenditures for the month, according to Ronald M. Goldsby, chief administrative officer and comptroller for the fairgrounds.

Goldsby will retire at the end of the year, and a search for his replacement will start within the next week. The hope is to narrow the field to two-to-three top contenders to meet with the personnel committee and hire someone for the chief financial officer position by July, said executive director Randy Moore

Effort is being made to get more commercial events to help increase revenue. The fairgrounds hopes to secure athletics competitions in sports such as cheerleading, wrestling and gymnastics.

The hot topic in the room, though, was the upcoming legislative session, which will determine the amount of money the fairgrounds receives from the state.

The board has requested $10 million to fund capital projects, though Moore previously said the fairgrounds hasn’t received any capital project money in five years. The fairgrounds received $954,918 in fiscal 2014 from the state’s general fund, which is separate from capital expenditures.

“We hope to obtain as much revenue as possible,” Moore said.

The first priority for the capital funds is to improve infrastructure, including repairing asphalt and upgrading the oiler system from cast iron to copper. The second is to improve signage and wayfaring.

Sen. Ross Tolleson, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, said he would meet with other lawmakers to talk about the budget needs for the fairgrounds.

Maintaining the facility is a top priority for Tolleson, a Republican from Perry.

In February, the board will meet in Atlanta to discuss the budget.

“We are in a wait and see mode,” said Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch.

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