Brown’s budget cuts likely to hit beleaguered fair hard
Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget puts Plumas-Sierra County Fair manager John Steffanic in a tough spot, right along with the Board of Supervisors.
Brown’s budget proposes a 30 percent reduction in the state’s food and agriculture budget. This includes elimination of all funding for fairs and expositions, which totals $32 million.
Steffanic expected to receive $210,000 from food and agriculture’s Fairs and Expositions (F&E) department for the 2011-12 fiscal year. This would equal 50 percent of the fair’s annual revenue. Now, he expects to receive nothing from the state.
At the Jan. 26 fair board meeting Steffanic was quick to advise his board of directors against turning automatically to the county. Instead, he said he planned to limit fair entertainment to what has already been contracted for, approximately $30,000 worth.
He said the carnival, food vendors and exhibitors will still come and agreed with a member of the audience who said that is what counts — the heart of the fair.
Where’s the money?
For the current fiscal year, which includes the 2010 fair, Steffanic budgeted $550,000 in revenue: $210,000 from F&E, $23,000 from the county and the balance, $317,000, from events at the fairgrounds.
High Sierra Music Festival is by far the biggest revenue-producing event at $75,000. Other events include American Valley Speedway races and various meetings, lunches and private rentals.
Sierra County contributes $5,000 to the fair. In the past, Plumas County has contributed the amount needed to balance the budget, depending on the amount the county has available.