Orange County was faced with a decision last week handed down from the state to sell the county fairgrounds.
Within the governor’s budget, he has authorized the sale of several properties deemed “surplus land.”
Orange County Supervisors have signed a resolution supporting the sale, as long as it is to a non-profit, or stays an equestrian facility. The Fair Board is creating a nonprofit to buy the land and stay county property.
Supervisor John Moorlach of Orange County said, “I see this as a leverage buyout.”
He said that if someone other than a nonprofit or local entity purchased the land, the county will no longer have control. This was explained as a possibility.
“This is not a new deal. Governor Wilson looked to sell it as well,” Moorlach said.
The Fair Board is the governing body over the fairgrounds.
Supervisor Pat Bates said, “The Fair Board is currently working to form a nonprofit organization that could purchase and operate the fair and the county stands ready to offer assistance in that effort.”
The state will be the recipient of the revenue generated from the sale.
The fairgrounds are worth roughly $80-120 million dollars.
Moorlach stated that most county fairs are owned by the state and seen as surplus land.
He continued to suggest as an option to lease the fairgrounds so the state could collect continual revenue as opposed to a one-time sale. However, this does not seem to be an option.
“It is up to the governor’s discretion who it is sold to,” Moorlach said.
Louis Dettorre can be reached at email@example.com