Mother Lode Fair directors voted Monday to enter into an agreement with Tuolumne County about money from the Transient Occupancy Tax expansion on the June 5 ballot.
While no agreement is in place now, County Administrator Craig Pedro said in March that the county plans to negotiate agreements with the state and the Mother Lode Fair Board of Directors before the vote. Also, he said, while revenue estimates would serve as base funding for operations for three years, community organizations will also have to get involved.
The county already has a tax in place to charge guests of local hotels, motels and similar businesses 10 percent per room to help fund local services and tourism marketing efforts. The tax expansion would add privately run campgrounds, RV parks and houseboats.
The county Board of Supervisors approved putting the measure on the ballot for expansion in March with the purpose of helping fund Railtown 1897 State Historic Park and the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.
Both face steep cuts in funding, and Railtown is on a list of 70 state parks slated for closure this summer.
Mother Lode Fair directors, who are appointed by the governor, cannot campaign for the measure, although they can state their support as individuals.
“Obviously, we are 100 percent behind them,” Board Chairwoman Mari Ann Bloom said in calling for the vote, which was unanimous.
Friends of the Fair, however, has plans to campaign for passage of the expansion, said board member Toni Wagner. Friends is the nonprofit arm of the fairgrounds and is trying to make up for state funding cuts that threaten the fairgrounds’ existence. Membership is $20 per year.
Board members are Ty Wivell, Shirley Sarno, Mary Henson, Marge Kiriluk, Ted Maurino, Steffanie Reed, Karl Rodefer, Bob Law, Toni Wagner, Jan Costa, Shelley Truelock, Albert Barreno and Vicki Smith. Wagner and Kiriluk won’t be part of the campaign since they are also fair board members.
Fair board member Wes Wittman said he hopes people let the voters know how important the fairgrounds are to the community, with events and activities held there throughout the year. Events like the Mother Lode Roundup Rodeo on Mother’s Day weekend, would have no place to be held without the fairgrounds, he said.
The Roundup is Tuolumne County’s biggest event of the year, with a Saturday parade, two days of professional rodeo, a Saturday night dance, Mother’s Day breakfast and other activities.
In other business:
• Directors approved the exhibitor’s handbook for the 2012 Mother Lode Fair, which will soon be available online and at the fairgrounds office. Call 532-7428 for more information.
• Board member John Egger reported for the finance committee that there was about $1,800 more left in the budget than expected for March, showing that severe cuts in expenditures were paying off.
• Events tentatively set for the fairgrounds arena during the 2012 fair are AMP Motocross at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday to be announced, L&L Four Wheel Drive at 7 p.m. Saturday and the Destruction Derby at 6 p.m. Sunday.
• Entertainment tentatively confirmed for the Corner and Sonora stages includes the Joe Craven Trio, Chains Required and Lost Weekend bands, Amanda Ply, Swing Gitane, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Songsters, Upland Drive, Patrice Pike, Saddle Tramps, Rockabilly Revue and Mighty Coyote.