August 21, 2014

AUDIO: Major State Fair infrastructure needs discussed (AUDIO)

Sewer problems at a major state event have put its host city in trouble with a separate state agency. 

The State Fair has called Sedalia home for about 110 years.  Parts of the Fair’s sewer system date almost to the Fair’s beginning.  And it is leaking badly.   Senate Appropriation Committee member Mike Parson of Bolivar has told the committee that the leaks are affecting the Sedalia city sewer system so adversely that the Department of Natural Resources is threatening fines. 

State Agriculture Director John Hagler knows about the situation but says the state eliminated a budget line for maintenance and repairs years ago. “The State Fair is in a difficult position,” he says.  He says a survey of the sewer system has located at least 270 leaks.  And Hagler says things are bad above ground, too.  He says buildings need roofs. He says some buildings have shifted because of last year’s drought so badly that some floors have split. He says the Fair’s infrastructure is at a point where some way needs to be found to finance improvements and the sewer system is a top priority.

The state budget used to have appropriation lines for repairs and maintenance at the state fair.  But that category has not existed for several years. 

State lawmakers are discussing a capital improvements bond issue of almost one-billion dollars.  So far, the State Fair has not been mentioned during those discussions as a priority.

AUDIO: Copmmittee discussion 3:58