GREENVILLE — The Darke County Fair Board held a special meeting Tuesday night to consider adopting a new constitution.
According to Fair Manager Brian Rismiller, county fairs throughout the state of Ohio are currently covered under the state’s 501(c)(3) designation. Individual fairs now are being encouraged to pursue their own 501(c)(3) status, however, which in many cases requires amendments to their existing constitutions.
Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. It is regulated and administered by the Department of the Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. According to language contained in the Darke County Agricultural Society’s proposed new constitution, qualifying organizations must be “organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and/or scientific purposes.”
In particular, “no part of the activities or the net earnings of a 501(c)(3) organization may unfairly benefit any director, officer, or any private individual, and no officer or private individual can share in the distribution of any of the corporate assets in the event the organization shuts down.” In order to quality for 501(c)(3) status, the fair’s constitution must contain language specifying what will happen to its assets in the event that it dissolves, which it currently does not.
There was confusion, however, as to whether board members could actually vote to place an amended constitution, or individual amendments to the current constitution, on the ballot during Tuesday’s meeting, as it was not a regularly scheduled meeting. There also were concerns that the new constitution, which not only added new language but also trimmed much of the document’s original verbiage, might need to be examined in depth by fair board members before being placed on the ballot.
After an hour or so of discussion, board member and Treasurer Doug Martin made a motion that the board vote to place an individual amendment to the original constitution containing 501(c)(3)-specific language on the ballot during their next meeting. If passed, the amendment would then be placed on the ballot for individual society members to vote on during fair week. The motion was passed 10-1, with board member Jim Zumbrink voting against.
The next meeting of the Darke County Fair Board will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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