County may take over operation of rodeo arena
By John M. Ayers
Gilchrist County Commissioners were split in their decision to enter into an agreement with the Gilchrist FFA Alumni organization on Monday to take over operation of the rodeo arena.
Prior to the meeting, Gilchrist County attorney John McPherson met with a combined group from Gilchrist County and the Gilchrist FFA Alumni Inc. executive board, and they came to a verbal agreement involving the ownership of the arena facility and property.
McPherson presented Ordinance 2010-06 to the commission to establish the intent of the county in the event of a donation by the Gilchrist County FFA Alumni Association, Inc. of the rodeo arena on US 129 to Gilchrist County.
The ordinance identified that Gilchrist County is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Gilchrist County. The FFA Alumni Association has proposed a donation of the arena property to Gilchrist County if the commission will commit to take certain actions in the future to allow the use of the arena by the public to benefit the residents of the county. This agreement includes the donation of two $2,500 annual scholarships from the county, one each to Bell and Trenton FFA organizations, and to allow the FFA Alumni two events a year without charge.
Commissioner Randy Durden made a motion to approve Ordinance 2010-06, and Commissioner Thomas went along with a second to the action.
Chairman Harrison asked for public comment and local resident and businessman Jon Gray addressed the board to point out that he feels the cost of this donation would be a great expense to the taxpayers of Gilchrist County.
“I see advantages for the youth of Gilchrist County, but long range this would be expensive to operate and maintain for county government,” Jon Gray said.
Commission Chairman Harrison explained, “I think this facility should be received and made to pay for itself by Gilchrist County.”
Commissioner Thomas said, “I have talked with folks involved with rodeos and they want to use the facility once a month.”
Commissioner Tommy Langford expressed his concern involving what the donation of the facility would cost the county.
Chairman Harrison called for a decision and the board approved the ordinance by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Tommy Langford voted ‘No’ on the adoption of Ordinance 2010-06.