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Board may chip in for new barn


September 28, 2012

LISBON Columbiana County commissioners are considering helping to pay for a new barn built this year at the county fairgrounds.

Commissioners indicated at this week's meeting they have been in discussions with county fair board officials about possibly providing some funding to help pay for construction of the new rabbit and poultry barn.

"We've told them down the road, at the end of the year, we might be able to do something," said Commissioner Jim Hoppel.

The subject was actually raised at the meeting by Commissioner John Payne, who said he had told fair officials that commissioners might be in a financial position to help them with the barn. Hoppel and Commissioner Mike Halleck said they had similar discussions.

"We don't have a problem with that," Halleck said.

The 56-by-100-foot, 12-foot high steel building replaced a much smaller barn. It cost $71,500 to construct, with the fair board receiving $66,000 in contributions.

"It's just amazing we were able to get $66,000 in donations from the people of Columbiana County. That's very generous," said county fair Manager Tresa Hall.

To complete the project, the fair board has about another $10,000 in additional work to do, such as purchasing doors and installing some drains, Hall said. This would raise the final price tag to about $80,000.

Commissioners indicated they have talked about donating $10,000 once they get a clearer picture of where county finances stand in early 2013. Fair Board President Don Humphrey Jr. said any contribution from commissioners would be greatly appreciated.

"It's a great investment in the fair and reflects on Columbiana County's greatest industry, which is agriculture," he said.

Commissioners were asked afterwards if this was an example of how they might spend some of the casino tax revenue being received from the state. The commissioners first check was for $93,000, but communities around the county have begun adopting resolutions requesting commissioner share some of their casino money with them.

While Payne favors coming up with some sort of a method to provide communities with a share of the money, Hoppel and Halleck indicated they may be willing do likewise at some point but are opposed to taking any formal action that would require commissioners to do so.

"I don't think anyone is in disagreement we can help people (with casino money) down the road at the appropriate time," Halleck said.

Halleck said he sat down one day and figured out that $8 million of the county's $18 million general fund budget is spent on departments and services that benefit cities, villages and townships.

"It seems like the people who are pushing this idea really don't understand what county government does," he said.



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