At the last Montezuma County commission meeting concerns were raised regarding auto racing at the Fair Grounds. The past three years has seen a resurgence of interest in the sport, and suddenly it was reported that the promoter was not going to continue due to the County being obstinate and unreasonable on a new contract. This resulted in some sudden public name calling and displeasure with County Commissioners over an issue that was all based upon here-say. What is going on here? Three questions come to mind 1. What is the history of the race track? 2. What is the Role and Authority of the BOCC? 3. What happened in this particular situation?
To begin with, this is a very brief synopsis and picture. Answer 1. Auto racing had “come and gone” at different locations with different promoters over the years. After difficulties in finding a location, a past promotion group asked the County if the unused part of the “Fair grounds” could be used, which was indeed permitted. It was not developed as a County operated function. Liability was and is a concern.
Answer 2. What is the Role of the County? In layman’s terms it is to administer State law at the local level and provide “opportunity” for economic activity and people to live peaceably with each other In their lives. It is NOT to “provide for and support” any “for profit” economic activity with County Tax payer Funding.
Answer 3. What is current situation.? Short answers is “false information” was put out.. The contract for use was with a “for profit” private business operation, and it was time for a new contract, which was prepared and no response was received from the business promoter for discussion or negotiation. First indication of concerns was on Social Media maligning the BOCC.
Much of the problem has likely stemmed from the lack of understanding on how the rodeo grounds have been developed. The Rodeo association, a 501(C3) non-profit association has secured grants and donations to do financial improvements over the years. Most financial grants are not available for “for profit” private businesses, therefore improvements would be at the businesses personal investment expense, creating issues with it being on leased County land.
At Tuesdays BOCC meeting, it was mentioned that this week the Contract for use of the Race Track venue will be advertised as an open “opportunity” for any business or group to operate. The County would really like to see the race track stay in operation, and it would be great if a local business or a group form a 501(C3) non-profit to develop and expand it. To view and hear the BOCC explanation on the issue, go to the County website at https://www.montezumacounty.org and access the video record for the Meeting of Sept. 14th, and scan down to the near end with the Commissioners reports. A lot more could be said, but it is hoped this incident may help us to become better informed on the role and responsibility of the County government and the responsibility of all the populace to work together with the elected body, for the benefit of all.
My Opinion, Dexter Gill