Fairgrounds board approves cost-saving measures

awoolen@macon.comApril 9, 2014 

PERRY -- Some of the talk at the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority board meeting Wednesday centered around ways to save money.

During its first meeting back after being in Atlanta for the Georgia General Assembly in January, February and March, the board unanimously approved eliminating compensation time gained during the Georgia National Fair and replacing it with overtime. The change will result in a savings of $25,000 a year, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter Executive Director Randy Moore said.

Some employees built up weeks of vacation during the 11-day run of the fair. This created a burden on the facility to fill all its daily duties, Moore said.

Another cost savings plan is to use the public safety department at the fairgrounds for parking during the fair instead of outsourcing the project. This would save the fairgrounds between $15,000 and $20,000, Moore said.

Meanwhile, the board also made plans to start on capital projects, which were approved for about $3 million in bond money for fiscal 2015. This includes resurfacing parking lots and roads, buying new equipment, painting, redeveloping the north gate entrance, updating bathrooms in Reaves Arena, paving, and making heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements in three buildings.

“After 25 years, it just needed to be done. The first impression is mighty important,” vice chairman Foster Rhodes said.

The fairgrounds has been asking for the money for improvements for three to four years, said Ronald M. Goldsby, chief administrative officer and comptroller for the fairgrounds.

Also at the meeting:

• Raybon Anderson, head of the personnel committee, said the search for a new chief financial officer has been narrowed down to two applicants, who will be interviewed in May.

• The board approved a two-year contract extension for Reithoffer Shows Inc. to continue to provide rides and games for the midway during the fair. Reithoffer has been with the fair since its inception in 1990.

• The board approved a reduction in price for Oct. 8 during this year’s fair, which will be held Oct. 2-12. The price for adults will be $8 and seniors will be $6. Normal ticket prices are $10 adults and $8 seniors.

“We’re trying to get record attendance for that day,” Moore said.

To help with getting a crowd, there will be a free concert by country music singer Ricky Skaggs. Iron Horse, a bluegrass band, will be the opening act, and the music starts at 7 p.m.

• The board passed a motion to rename the Georgia Building at the fairgrounds to the Georgia Grown Building. The income generated from the building in 2013 grossed more than $20,000 more than the previous year, Moore said.

Finally, during the March meeting, it was reported that Houston County Superior Court Judge George Nunn dismissed a case brought by Kelsie Norton and her father against the authority. Norton was banned for a year from showing in livestock competitions at the fairgrounds after a hog she was showing tested positive for a banned substance during the 2013 fair.

The lawsuit asked for a repeal of the ban.

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