CHESTER – After running a successful town fair last year, the recreation commission is looking to continue that work in years to come, and during budget talks with the board of selectmen last week, members suggested using the department’s revolving account to pay for and take in revenues for the event.
Commission chair Ed Karjala explained that organizing and running the event would be easiest through the account, as instead of going to taxpayers to ask for money up front, they could take in revenues from vendors, donations and sponsorships and use that to cover expenses.
Running the event through the revolving account would also allow the department to keep revenues left over at the end of the event to get a head start on the next year. Otherwise that money would have to be encumbered, or the department would have to wait until the new year’s budget passed to move forward.
Selectman Jack Cannon was concerned that such a move was premature, after only one cycle of having the recreation commission run the event. He noted that he would hope that the town could work toward breaking even on the fair, including the expense of fireworks of about $7,000.
Typically the fireworks have been accounted for in a separate account. Karjala noted that it would take several cycles before the town fair revenues were also paying for fireworks, if ever, although he conceded it was a goal to work toward. He noted that the revolving account would simply make organization easier.
Karjala assured Cannon that the revolving account was still governed by standard accounting practices and by no means was it a “black hole” for finances.
The recreation chair noted that they’ve started earlier this year than last in organizing the annual fair, and with the buzz from last year’s busy event, the commission is hopeful that they can make the event even better this year.
The board made no decision on the matter at its Thursday, Jan. 30 meeting.