Colorado State Fair Authority Blasted For Losing Millions
The Colorado State Fair Authority, the 11 person board that oversees the annual event have been blasted by an auditor for the State of Colorado.
According to the Colorado Office of the State Auditor the fair:
"has no strategic direction, marketing is ineffective, building rentals on the fairgrounds are mismanaged and the structures are in disrepair".
The annual event, held in Pueblo has lost at least $4 million per year since 2014 and is not operating as an enterprise, which was the intention of the statute. Instead, the event has relied on funds from the state as well as local governments.
Declining attendance and lack of oversight are only part of the problem. The fair has no clear vision nor does it show any thoughts on how the current trend can be reversed.
The audit further showed lack of rent for facilities resulted in a loss of over $900,000 in 2018 alone. The lack of vision comes after spending over 100k to develop one and the $1 million-plus budget for marketing lacks effectiveness.
The audit also found the buildings on the 102-acre plot the fair is held on are in serious disrepair and none of them would meet state standards for building conditions.
Improvements suggested include:
- Improve governance to address financial and operational challenges and risks.
- Use facility maintenance funds to identify, prioritize and complete maintenance projects.
- Increase facility rental revenue through consistent procedures and revising contracts.
- Market the fair strategically and cost effectively.
The 2020 Colorado State Fair will be held from August 27 to September 7.