Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2022-0571   
Type: Consent Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 5/6/2022 In control: Fairgrounds
On agenda: 6/13/2022 Final action:
Title: Sonoma County Fair - Business Development Manager
Department or Agency Name(s): Fairgrounds
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. Resolution
Date Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
No records to display.

To: Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): Sonoma County Fair & Exposition, Inc.

Staff Name and Phone Number: Rebecca Bartling, 707-545-4218

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): Countywide




Sonoma County Fair - Business Development Manager



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

Adopt a Resolution to amend the Department Allocation List of Sonoma County Fair to add one (1.0 FTE) full-time equivalent Business Development Manager position effective June 13, 2022



Executive Summary:

The Sonoma County Fair is requesting approval to add one (1.0 FTE) Business Development Manager position allocation. This position will seek out new business such as consumer shows, trade shows and other large events as well as expand traditional revenue sources and engage with the community as the Fairgrounds explores opportunities beyond our historical sources of income. The full cost of this position will be fully offset by Fairgrounds revenues and have zero impact on the County General Fund.



The Sonoma County Fair generates operating revenues from the annual County Fair, Interim Events (non-fair building and facility rentals, and Recreational Vehicle Park and golf course use), and Horse Racing and Satellite Wagering. While the Fairgrounds operating gross revenues have grown slightly over the past seven years, net revenue growth is challenged by increasing cost of labor and materials. In 2020 and 2021 revenues were impacted due to the effects of COVID-19 on the County Fair (cancelled in 2020 and modified in size in 2021) and decreased interim events. Additionally, the percentage of net revenue generated from horse racing, which make up 13% of total annual revenues, has decreased each year over the past fifteen years due a decreasing interest in horse racing, less horses being bred for racing and expanded tribal gaming. However, prior to the pandemic years, net revenues had been increasing slightly.

The Business Development Manager will assist the department with business development, strategy and policy with the goals of achieving growth and financial sustainability. The position will evaluate, implement, and manage business strategies and ensure that business plans are sustainable. This position’s focus will be on maximizing revenue from traditional revenue sources as well as achieving revenue growth by building new business partnerships and relationships. This includes seeking new business such as consumer shows, trade shows and other large events, pursuing federal and state funding opportunities to support youth agricultural education and emergency preparedness as well as solicit grants and corporate sponsorships. The Sonoma County Fair is also in need of someone who can engage the Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County residents and our agricultural community on future fairgrounds opportunities with potential future development of the Racetrack area and underutilized assets on the grounds. As we see Horse racing revenues dwindling we will be looking to repurpose the Jockey Club and ultimately the race track and infield areas with opportunities that will replace lost revenue with opportunities that are more appealing to the community

Calendar year 2022 expenditures for this position are estimated to be $110,938 and will increase to $199,079 for the full year in 2023. The positon will be financed with funds generated from the annual Fair and interim events.

The Sonoma County Fair will continue to be good stewards of the fairground’s properties, through the profitable operation of the fairgrounds while emphasizing agricultural education and community involvement, both of which are core to the Fair’s mission. Additionally, a key function of the Fairgrounds is now its use as a human and animal evacuation site. The fairgrounds served as a wildfire evacuation site in 2017, 2019 and twice in 2020 and served as a flood evacuation site in the winter of 2019. In the fall of 2021 the Fairgrounds again served as an animal evacuation site due to flooding.


Strategic Plan:



Prior Board Actions:



Fiscal Summary


CY 2022 Adopted

CY 2023 Projected

CY 2024 Projected

Budgeted Expenses




Additional Appropriation Requested




Total Expenditures




Funding Sources




General Fund/WA GF












Use of Fund Balance








Total Sources





Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

The Business Development Manager position cost for the remainder of calendar year 2022 will be funded primarily by anticipated salary savings. The Fairgrounds is filling open allocated positions later in its calendar year than anticipated within its 2022 adopted budget. Costs for future years will be covered by the anticipated increase in net revenues from Interim, Sponsorship, and the annual fair, as a consequence of the business development activities performed by the position.


Staffing Impacts:




Position Title (Payroll Classification)

Monthly Salary Range (A-I Step)

Additions (Number)

Deletions (Number)

Business Development Manager (0850)













Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):

Allocation changes add appropriate staff to address workload requirements.





Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board: