Deficits and Expenses Balloon Following Titus’ Resignation
Bad to Worse: Reserve Drops 59%
The following excerpt from the Ferndale Enterprise concerning
the Humboldt County Fair budget didn’t exactly surprise us:
Hold all tickets.
Newly-released budget numbers show the Humboldt County Fair lost more in 2013 than initially reported last month. The year will now go down in the books as one with the largest loss in fair history, due to unchecked spending, a disappointing horse racing meet and budget overruns.
The fair association, according to a newly-released operating budget, finished the year with a loss of $216,000…
The loss dropped the fair’s operating reserve — including the cash on hand it uses to pay the bills before the all-important revenue-generating month of August — 59 percent or from $494,108 in January of 2013 to $203,315 at the beginning of 2014.
The $216,000 loss of revenue compares to a profit of $98,000 at the end of 2012.
At an association Finance Committee meeting last week, fair directors blamed the loss mostly on others, and at a Monday night regular board meeting, when asked who was responsible for the loss and double-digit budget overruns, no answer was provided.
Former general manager of the fair, Stuart Titus, whose contract was not renewed at the start of last year and who left the fair with the largest reserve in history, said he was shocked and saddened by the numbers.
“It’s really too bad, because it took a lot of time and discipline to build the reserve to where it was, and we did it because we knew there were tough times coming,” said Titus, who managed the fair for 22 years and who voluntarily took a $10,000 pay cut in 2012 to help hold costs down and build the reserve.
“The directors are trying to write it all off to deferred maintenance and horse racing expenses, but that doesn’t hold water. It’s pretty clear there was no chain of command and that they lost all control over expenses. During my time and with former director Ken Christen as the chair of the Buildings and Grounds committee, we did almost $4 million worth of improvements on the grounds and kept perfect records on all of them.”
Titus said he is extremely concerned about the future of the fair and the $7 million economic impact the fair brings to the county.
“I knew they might run into trouble after I left and they hired someone with no fair management experience, but I had no idea it would be this bad,” he said…
An excerpt from “Humboldt County Fair Budget Goes from Bad to Worse; Reserve Drops 59 Percent in One Year” by Ferndale Enterprise Editor Caroline Titus, you can read the full article and details here.
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We had an inkling this would happen after Stuart Titus, the successful and stalwart County Fair manager for 22 years, was drummed out by the Fair Association Board cronies last year.
Why? Because his wife, Caroline, ran the local newspaper and reported the news fairly and accurately as she saw it. They didn’t like that in a small town and so they leaned on him after she refused to be railroaded.
They replaced Mr. Titus with a new fair manager– and with no prior experience– gave him a 20% raise right off the bat.
The proof is in the numbers and if it wasn’t any clearer it would bite you.