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November 2019

How Should the OC Fairgrounds Budget to Better Serve the Community – Evening Meeting on November 14, 2019 (And What to Do With $62 Million in Cash Reserves)

Bullhorn Meeting (1)

The OC Fairgrounds is holding a budget meeting to discuss the 2020 budget and capital expenditures plan during the evening on Thursday, November 14, 2019, starting at 6:30 PM in the Administration Building. Input from the public is needed regarding revenues, operating expenditures, and capital expenditures.

 

URGENT: Requests to the Board to Change Format of Meeting

We need to ask the Board to make this into a public workshop, rather than just a public meeting. a public workshop will allow members of the public to have more than one 3 minute speaking time to make input, and allow them to request and receive answers from staff. These requests need to be sent to the Board well before the meeting so that the format may be adjusted.

 

URGENT: Requests to the Board to Require Meaningful Budget Development Background

In the past, the budget was presented a list of revenues and expenditures which happened to add up. Download 2019 Budget 

A slide presentation provides only a little more detail, but staff avoided being specific on how the numbers were calculated and how money would be spent. Download 2019_Budget_Presentation

The Board needs to receive requests, beginning now, that the public expects to see full backup on the development of the budget numbers and the rationale for the budget priorities.

 

Background on the Budget and Budgeting Process

How Much Money Does the OC Fairgrounds Have?

Over $62 million in cash as of August 2019.  Annual revenues are about $50 million making the cash reserves about 125% of annual revenue.  The OC Fairgrounds can spend as much as they want to on capital improvements and other projects.

Board policy sets the reserve level at 25% of annual operating expenditure which is about $10.75 million in reserves. The OC Fairgrounds is sitting on over over 5.75 times the required reserve level. In comparison, Costa Mesa which is a city of 110,000 residents which operates a city government with police and fire departments has about $55 million in reserves.

 

Ideas for Capital Improvement Projects and Other Needed Expenditures

  1. Traffic and parking study to reduce the impacts of 5 weeks of near constant gridlock during the OC Fair which stops the 55 Fwy to the Paularino exit and causes OCTA buses to detour through residential neighborhoods. A parking study is needed to find places for the 1.4 million OC Fair attendees to park. It's time to work to reduce the encroachment of OC OC Fairgrounds traffic and parking problems on the homeowners. 

  2. A sound wall for the Action Sports Arena to reduce noise from monster truck shows, motorcycle races, and other events from encroaching on the homeowners around the OC Fairgrounds. This projected has been promised "next year" for several years and needs to be built now.

  3. Removing the weeds on the Pacific Amphitheatre berm and putting in native plants which can thrive in the salty soil with little water or maintenance. Sprinklers on the berm have not worked correctly since the project was finished several years ago  and the staff member in charge of the project did not follow up on the problem during the time the contractor was liable to make the project work. It's time to pull the weeds and put in a native garden.

  4. Make needed repairs and upgrades to the Equestrian Center including installing wifi access.

  5. Agreements for use of off-site parking and storage lots for use during the OC Fair. Agreements for shuttle service to and from the off-site parking lots are needed.

  6. A covered riding arena in the Equestrian Center. 

  7. Development of green-space around the property to buffer the sonic and visual encroachment of the OC Fairgrounds on the neighbors.

 

What Are Your Ideas on the 2020 OC Fairgrounds Budget?

Please email the Board with your ideas on how state money should be spent at the OC Fairgrounds and requests for handling the budgeting process. And please join us at the meeting!

 

Contact the OC Fair Board

Board Chair Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com

Vice Chair Andreas Meyer ameyer@ocfairboard.com

Director Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com

Director Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com

Director Doug LaBelle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com

Director Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com

Director Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia   nrubalcava-garcia@ocfairboard.com

Director Robert Ruiz   rruiz@ocfairboard.com

 

The OC Fairgrounds is also known as the Orange County Fair and Event Center, OCFEC, 32nd District Agricultural Association, and 32nd DAA.