Now that an effort to raise Delaware County's bed-tax rate has proven successful, county fair officials have decisions to make about how and when to spend new revenue.

Now that an effort to raise Delaware County's bed-tax rate has proven successful, county fair officials have decisions to make about how and when to spend new revenue.

Delaware County voters Tuesday, March 15, approved the five-year, 3 percent tax hike on hotel bills by a vote of 62 percent to 28 percent, or 40,139 votes to 24,994, according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections. Revenue from the increase -- estimated at about $190,000 per year -- can be used only for infrastructure improvements at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

A countywide 3 percent bed tax already was in place to support the Delaware County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The city of Delaware and Berkshire and Orange townships also already had their own 3 percent lodging taxes.

Fair General Manager Bill Lowe said he and other fair officials were "very pleased" with the result of the vote. He said he heard only positive reactions to the tax proposal as Election Day neared, but he was still somewhat surprised by the margin of victory.

"When it comes to anything involving a tax, you just never know," he said.

With the measure passed, Lowe said fair officials must determine whether they'll let revenue build up slowly or issue bonds against future revenue to allow bigger projects to be completed more quickly.

"Now that we've got the funding mechanism in place, we can really start to hone this thing down," he said.

H.C. "Chip" Thomson, the fair board's vice president, said the Delaware County Finance Authority could provide aid if officials decide to move forward with a bond sale. He said issuing bonds likely would condense the timeline for certain renovations.

"The money comes in slowly, unfortunately. It trickles in," he said.

Thomson said improvements to the fairgrounds' restrooms should be the first priority, in his opinion.

Lowe said restrooms, electrical systems and roads at the site all are in desperate need of upgrades.

In the lead-up to the vote, fair officials said the current state of the fairgrounds threatened the future of its signature event, the Little Brown Jug harness race.

While fair officials are debating bonds and the order of improvements now, the future of the tax increase after five years is a topic for another day.

Thomson said fair officials need to "earn the trust" of the public during the next five years before making a determination on whether the term of the tax should be extended.

"My goal right now is make a penny spend like a nickel, and make a nickel spend like a dime," he said.

Lowe said it would be "premature" to comment on what officials will decide in five years.

DD levy wins

Delaware County voters on Election Night overwhelmingly voted to renew a levy that supports the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The five-year, 2.1-mill levy passed 70.5 percent to 29.5 percent, or 47,224 votes to 19,762.

The levy generates about $13.4 million in revenue annually, which represents about two-thirds of the agency's budget.

The levy will continue to cost county property owners about $62 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.

Board Superintendent Kristine Hodge previously said the levy's failure could have resulted in "devastating" cuts in services to the board's clients.

According to board records, in 2015 the agency served about 2,500 individuals.

@TWGallick