PARSONS - Officials said Wednesday they are taking steps to obtain the necessary state license for the Tucker County Fair, which operated without a license last year.
Tucker County Fair Association President Phyllis Carr met with the Tucker County Commission and Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora III Wednesday evening to report on the progress of the county fair's licensing through the West Virginia Secretary of State's office.
According to the Secretary of State's website, the Tucker County Fair Association was first licensed Oct. 26, 1954. The site said the licensing was revoked Dec. 21, 2012, because of failure to file an annual report and to pay the $75 annual fee.
LaMora asked Carr Wednesday if the situation had been remedied.
"Yes," Carr said. "Everything has gone in and we have a letter of good standing, which we were waiting forever to get. Talking to people down there (at the state tax department), one will tell you one thing and one will tell you another. We spoke with (tax official) Peggy Green and she told us exactly what we needed to do."
Commissioner Diane Hinkle asked Carr to explain what she did to resolve the license situation.
"I have copies of everything," Carr said. "I sent a cover letter, a copy of the statement of understanding, West Virginia application for reinstatement of license, copy of the check for $75 and business license application. Plus we faxed a lot of information to them."
Carr said she also sent in last year's annual report.
"It has taken me forever to sort this out," Carr, who took over the position in January 2013, said. "And I apologize, but it happened. When I inherited this job, I was given nothing. No papers. Nothing. It has not been easy."
Eric Mullenax was the president of the Tucker County Fair Association prior to Carr.
Carr said she has created a notebook with paperwork to pass along to the next person who undertakes the president's job.
"I want to make sure this never happens again," Carr said. "I have a copy of our insurance as well."
Carr said she has a copy of the Fair Association's 501-C-3 document which states it is in good standing.
LaMora asked if the 501-C-3 designation had ever gone out of good standing.
"No, it has not," Carr said. "It says on the bottom it is an unconditional exemption."
Commission members told Carr she needed to make sure the records are forwarded to the Secretary of State's office. They also requested she send the Secretary of State a copy of the group's 2010 updated bylaws.
"This goes back three presidents (of the Tucker County Fair Association)," Carr said. "I procrastinated some because I was so frustrated. Trying to get through work everyday, hopefully, this is resolved."
Commissioner Mike Rosenau said he wanted to make one point clear to everyone.
"These are volunteer jobs," Rosenau said. "It's hard to keep up with stuff when you are not a professional and know what you need to do. You put hours of volunteer time in, not only you, but everyone in this county who is on a board, volunteers to make this county better."
"It was brought to our attention that possibly your license had gone dead," Rosenau said to Carr. "So, at that point, I did not know that there would be any obligation with the County Commission. Ray LaMora, our prosecuting attorney, said there is a possibility of our obligation for grants if their license were dead."
LaMora said he did not think it was likely West Virginia Fairs and Festivals would try to take back grant money.
"I think it could be possible if they were being told that someone was qualified and had all of their ducks in a row and really they didn't," LaMora said. "I know there are some liability issues, but I don't think anything comes back to the County Commission liability wise.
"However, it could come back on the (Tucker County) Parks and Recreation Board because they own Camp Kidd where the fair takes place - which ultimately does come back to the Commission."
Rosenau said the connection to the county would be that the County Commission has the property insured.
"The Parks and Recreation Board owns the property, but we still maintain the insurance over the blanket policy of county property," Rosenau said. "That is being separated now, after June 30 of this year. But right now, it is still under the County Commission's blanket policy for insurance."
Rosenau said the commission is concerned about the Fair Association not only because of possible repayment of grants but also because of the county's children.
"The livestock that goes through the fair and the 4-H programs is one of the things we are concerned about," Rosenau said. "That's why we were so concerned about that."
Carr said the Fair Association is working to get the scales for the livestock sale fixed and calibrated. She also discussed some of the plans for this year's Tucker County Fair in August.
"I want to have a plan and schedule in place for this year's fair by the middle of April or the beginning of May," Carr said.