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Commissioners take written input on Fairgrounds, Golf Fees until Dec. 16

 

December 12, 2019



DAYTON–The County Commissions heard concerns about Fairground fees and Golf fees for 2020 in a special meeting held Monday evening, December 9. These proposals will be considered at the next public hearing on Monday, December 16, 2019.

Due to the addition of administrative fees, the fees will be increased 10% to cover this. The increase comes with concern due to the course having deteriorated some due to the water loss. It was also proposed to adjust the golf daily fee from $22 to $25. However, the adult annual fee will be $395. A comparison was done between daily fees and the amount lost by not increasing the annual fee. It was thought that there would be more retention of current adult members if the annual fee stayed under $400.

For Grades 9-12, the daily fee would be $10. For Seniors (currently defined on the Columbia County web site as 70+) and college students, the daily fee would be $20 with the annual fee at $275. The Family Annual fee, which is based on two adults and children under 18 being included for free, would be $790. For Grades 7-8 the annual fee would be $30, for Grades 9-12 the annual fee would be $60; and K-6 would remain free.

There was a comment that the fees for Grades 7-8 should be merged with Grades 9-12, as it seemed cumbersome to have the split. Commissioner Charles Amerein wants golf to be encouraged so the Dayton youth will be involved and have a good time. Trail fees will go from $5 to $6. It was mentioned that the golf course had more play this year because the Chicken Bills restaurant did a lot of promotion for the golf course.

It was hoped that the fee schedule would be finished soon, because people who pay in advance now will pay the published rates at this time instead of the proposed rates. This also applies to the Fairgrounds rental. Having a fee schedule soon was encouraged.

A point was made about the camping area at the fairground, that it was not to directly compete with local businesses and rates are to be set accordingly and that it is not, really, an RV park. Camping at the RV sites at the Fairgrounds is usually tied to scheduled events and not overnight stays. RV sites at the Fairgrounds are $20 which includes water, electric, garbage, and WiFi (password protected). The owner/manager of Tucannon River RV Park stated their sites were $35. Thus, the Fairgrounds could raise their rates and not be directly competing. The owner/manager of Tucannon River RV Park stated that it is understood that when people are with horses and using the Fairgrounds, they want to be near their horses so would prefer to use the Fairgrounds RV sites. There are RV rigs that have horse areas and living areas. Tent camping at the Fairgrounds is $5. Plus, new this year, is electrical connections on tent sites. Rate is $10. It was discovered that many tent campers like the electrical connections at tent sites. The Commissioners stated that the power structure costs $1600 a month. Money is being lost on the electrical sites. Thus, the site rates may need to be raised.

It was also mentioned that although the Fairground RV park has WiFi, the WiFi does not reach out to the horse barns. It was suggested the rates be more in the grass areas. The most use of the RV sites is during the County Fair. There was a proposal for $30 gravel site and $35 grass site. This was countered with the fact that Walla Walla Fairgrounds charge $25 and they have a dump station, which Columbia County Fairgrounds does not. Without a dump station, the rates can’t be raised that much due to the requirement to not directly compete with local businesses. The Fairgrounds RV and tent camping can be mentioned, but not advertised, promoted, or marketed.

There was a discussion on maximum people in an RV site. Washington State Parks have a limit of eight people in an RV Site, Tucannon River RV Park bases their rates on four people and charges extra for additional people. The Fairgrounds does not currently have a person limit. Should a limit be imposed? It was mentioned that during a “car” event, there is a large amount of partying in one RV site.

Exclusive Use versus Non-Exclusive Use of the round pen was discussed. Exclusive Use of the round pen is $10 for an hour. Otherwise the round pens can be used by anyone.

Charles Eaton, Columbia County Public Works Director, mentioned that the Fairgrounds as a complex (without the Golf Course) lost $86,000 in rental fees for 2019. The budget amount was to be down by $70,000 so $16,000 more was lost on rental fees. Fairgrounds received $1700 in Stall Rental, Arena Rental $1300, Non-Exclusive Arena Rental $2200, Stall Leases (more than one night) $4400. Events are only bringing in $2700. The $86,000 deficit is calculated based on fees received versus expenses incurred.

Tack stalls was an issue. If someone has more than one horse, do they get a tack stall for each horse? And can the horse feed be stored in the tack stall? Stall rentals include a tack stall for each horse and feed can be stored. However, others have been told differently.

The Commissioners are happy to accept written comments on the Golf and Fairgrounds rates until December 16, 2019. The written comments can come via email, mail, walk-in, whatever way the public wants to deliver those comments.

 
 

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