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Jefferson County Fair seeks lower fees from Watertown

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 4:08 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - With no Jefferson County Fair last year, organizers want a break from the city of Watertown this year.

The Jefferson County Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, wants lower fees to rent the fields on Coffeen Street. Right now the bill would be $8,200.

In addition to having that bill lowered, the Jefferson County Fair Board is asking the city to be patient in collecting whatever fees they do have to pay because it doesn’t have cash on hand since there was no fair last year.

“We’re not saying that the fees are unreasonable, but we didn’t have a fair last year. We’ve gone two years worth of National Grid bills, electric bills, water and sewer bills, insurance premiums, and so on. We’ve totally exhausted our cash reserves,” said Bob Simpson, president, Jefferson County Agricultural Society.

“That would be something we could look at is if they wanted to pay some up front and some after the fact, we could certainly look at different options,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith.

Council Member Lisa Ruggiero suggests using some of the $23 million the city is receiving in COVID-19 relief to to make up for what the city could lose if council decides to lower the fees for the fair.

Council members Ryan Henry-Wilkinson and Sarah Compo said lowering the fees would be reasonable considering the damage caused during the pandemic.

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