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Council member proposes to charge fees at Hamburg Fairground

Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 04, 2019

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — Towns are trying to find ways to raise money without raising taxes, in Hamburg, a new cost-saving idea it could cost you more at the Erie County Fair.

"In order to maintain services and to afford a quality of life for all of our people, we need to look at potential new sources of revenue," said Jim Shaw, Hamburg Town Supervisor.

One council member suggested surcharges on event tickets and parking. To do so, the town would have to come to an agreement with the Erie County Agricultural Society, which runs the fairgrounds.

"I would like to work out an accommodation, to come to a meeting of the minds as to how the Agricultural society can help my humble opinion I believe they may be able to help us to a greater extent," said Shaw.

Currently, the Agricultural Society does not pay taxes on most of the property, because of a commitment to educate the public on agriculture.

It's been that way for almost 200 years.

There is 12 acres of the grounds that are taxed, but Shaw says, Hamburg needs more help.

"The Agricultural Society does a lot of things for us. That doesn't mean they have no financial obligation to the community as a whole," said Shaw.

The Agricultural Society is open to discussion.

"I think we have to be, the town is going to coexist with us and we're going to coexist with the town, we want to be good neighbors and good partners, but we need to have those conversations," said Jessica Underberg, CEO of the Fairgrounds.

Both sides will meet in the next few weeks to begin talks on a possible solution agreeable to both sides.