State Still Owes Host Cities Money For State Fairs

"Food-A-Rama" concession sign at the Illinois State Fair

A food concession sign at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Brian Mackey/NPRIllinois

Planning for the Illinois State Fair is in full swing. But the state of Illinois has yet to pay all the costs for last year’s fair, and the one before.

Illinois still owes Springfield more than $100 thousand for the fire protection it provided for the fairgrounds in 2016. The payment for last year of the same amount is due by June.

City of Springfield budget director Bill McCarty says the fire department will continue to provide protection regardless, but late payments do present challenges.

“We can carry $100 or $200 thousand for a short period of time,” said McCarty. “We’re getting to a point where it’s been a year and half, it’s time to get caught up. Especially now that we’re considering a long-term contract.”

Under that proposed contract, the city would charge the state a 5 percent annual increase for the next three years.

The state also operates the annual Du Quoin State Fair in the southern Illinois town of Du Quoin. The town's finance director says Illinois owes $20,000 for fire department coverage there in 2017. A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which oversees the state fairs, claims a check was sent last month.

That same state Agriculture spokesperson also said it was processing a payment to the city of Springfield Monday. That response came after NPR Illinois (the public radio station in Springfield) asked why the state was months behind on making its payments. 

Story source: Illinois Public Radio