A proposal to spend $250,000 on facilities at the county fairgrounds was tabled for further study Wednesday by the Davis County Commission, which set an April 16 public hearing date to reopen the county's budget.

Commissioner Dub Lawrence, who oversees the fair, proposed that $250,000 in interest money the county has earned on unspent hospital construction bond money be transferred to the county's fair budget.The budret last year, fair chairman Don Sides said, was $60,000.

The money would be used to extend sewer and water lines onto the fairgrounds in west Farmington, improve parking, and construct two buildings housing the fair office, exhibits, restrooms, and a concession stand.

The exterior shells of the buildings would be constructed, Sides told the commission, with volunteers finishing the interior. He estimated the cost of the projects he's proposing at $240,000.

Much of the work at the fair site has been done by volunteers, with Sides estimating the value of the material and labor donated at close to $80,000.

Last year's fair was the first held at the new site, just west of the county's new justice complex under construction west of I-15.

Sides acknolwedged that last year's fair, using temporary buildings, surplus army field tents, and scattered school buildings, had some problems. But considering its budget restrictions, the short time volunteers had to pull it together, and other factors, the event turned out well, Sides told the commission.

Sides said he believes that with the construction of the right facilities, the fairgrounds can be self-supporting in the future through rental income.

Lawrence said funding for the fair was discussed several times during budget sessions last fall but no decision on the fair's budget was ever reached. The county used its share of transient room-tax money, earmarked for tourist promotion, to fund the fair's $60,000 budget in 1989.

The only source of money now is the hospital bond fund, which the county considers its contingency or emergency fund, said Lawrence. The county took $250,000 out of the bond interest this year to buy a new computer system and Lawrence estimates the fund still contains around $750,000.

The county has dipped into it previously, for construction of its animal shelter and, two years ago, for $650,000 to buy the 11-acre fair site. Lawrence said that purchase set a precedent for funding the fair out of the bond fund.

County deputy attorney Gerry Hess said that does not constitute a precedent and spending the bond money is totally at the discretion of the county commission.

A separate fund has been set up to redeem the $580,000 in hosptial bonds still outstanding, Hess said, and the bond money used as a contingency fund is only the interest the money has earned over the years, not the principal earmarked for the bond repayment, he said.

Commissioner Gayle Stevenson said the commission was reluctant to use the money for its computer system and he is even more reluctant to spend that much of the county's contingency fund on the fairgrounds without exploring other funding sources.

He also said the county should ask for bids on the buildings requested to get a better idea of their cost.

The county needs to hold a public hearing shortly anyway to deal with some other budget fund transfers, the commissioners decided, so the question of funding for the fair can be brought up at that time.