Annexing State Fair Park

June 22, 2006 at 3:06pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Being out of town for so long is really screwing up my ability to follow local events. Case in point: what’s this I hear that Lincoln plans to annex State Fair Park? I won’t comment too much on the idea since I know very little about it. But I will say that it feels a little shallow to annex State Fair Park just to earn an extra hundred grand each year. Are we really that hard up for cash?

Don’t answer that.

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The Comments

Swid June 22, 2006 at 3:33pm

I don’t know why anyone is complaining about this; it seems silly that the fairgrounds, smack in the middle of Lincoln, have remained unannexed for so long.  From some of the comments I’ve read elsewhere, it seems that many people are under the belief that some magical State Fair pixie has been paying to provide services to the fairgrounds all this time, instead of Lancaster County taxpayers.  In the scheme of things, this *really* doesn’t change anything.

Mr. Wilson June 22, 2006 at 4:56pm

I should make it clear that I don’t really care one way or t’other, mainly because I just don’t know much about the situation. For example, you say that Lancaster County taxpayers are footing the bill for fairground services. Is that true? What’s the reason, that Lancaster County makes it up with tax dollars earned from visitors during the fair?

alathea June 22, 2006 at 5:23pm

If annexed, the State Fair grounds will be subject to sales tax for the city, thus (supposedly) being used to recoup the costs of providing services.

Swid June 22, 2006 at 5:35pm

Well, unless there’s other arrangements that the fairgrounds has made with the city and/or state governments, I presume that the fairgrounds are treated like any other portion of unincorporated Lancaster County, meaning that law enforcement, street maintenance, etc. are provided by the county government.  If Lancaster County is providing those services, it stands to reason that Lancaster County taxpayers “foot the bill” for said services.

If I remember correctly, this all goes back to the State Fair funding amendment passed a couple years ago.  Under the terms of that amendment, both the city and the county had to kick in a % in matching funds.  Annexing the fairgounds to the city will allow sales taxes to be collected, which will make it easier for both entities to meet their obligations.  In all honesty, this should (in the long run) provide for a more equitable way of collecting revenue, as non-area residents will be paying for a portion of the tax burden as well.

Steve June 23, 2006 at 3:01pm

I can’t believe someone hasn’t piped up with the *real* reason for the annexation: the city wants to stop people from smoking at the race track.

alathea June 23, 2006 at 3:02pm

That doesnt matter. The City would have no jurisdiction for that ordinance at the fairgrounds. Its stae property-they just want to sales tax money.

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