(Aberdeen American News (SD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 15--Fans of Willie Nelson will be able to buy tickets to his show at the Brown County Fair online instead of having to go on the road again to purchase them in person.
County commissioners, during this week's meeting, approved a contract with EZ Ticket Live, the company that will provide the service. A link to the ticketing service will be on the fair's website when grandstand entertainment tickets go on sale on June 13.
Grandstand reserved tickets will go on sale at the fair and auditor's offices at 8 a.m. Online sales of all tickets begin at 10 a.m. The disparity in sale times is, for this year at least, a nod to fair patrons who have traditionally lined up at the offices to get tickets as soon as they go on sale.
Amy Scott, fair manager, said the online service will be supported by convenience fees paid by ticket-buyers.
A cap of 20 tickets per person is likely to be imposed based on Tuesday's discussion. Paul Sivertsen, who works with the county's computer technology, said he expects Nelson's Aug. 16 show to sell out the first day of ticket sales.
With 12,000 tickets available, Scott was not as certain Nelson will sell out. But she does expect high attendance.
One reason a show could sell out this year is that for the first time, single-concert tickets will be on sale right away instead of just the day of the shows. They are $35 each. Tickets to one night of rodeo or the demolition derby will be $12.
The cap of 12,000 in sales of all types of tickets combined for a specific show is not a capacity issue, rather is set by the artists, said Scott, pointing out that the sale of more tickets comes with higher costs.
Scott said the new ticket system will keep better tabs on finances. Sales will be tracked on a spreadsheet instead of fair officials having to crunch the numbers, she said.
People who buy tickets online can print them out multiple times, if necessary, said Sivertsen, pointing out that, once a ticket bar code is scanned, no other copies of that ticket will work. Tickets printed out multiple times and used for admission was a problem last year, he said. Tickets bought online will be downloadable to smartphones.
The only ongoing cost the county has in the contract with EZ Ticket Live is postage for mailing the ticket scanners.
The Dacotah Stampede Rodeo will be Aug. 11-12. Kip Moore will headline Aug. 14 and Chris Young Aug. 16. Ticket packs are good for one night of rodeo, all three concerts and the demolition derby. Stage front tickets cost $70. They allow admission to a special area near the stage for the three nights of music, as well as general admission to the other events.
-- With input from Dirk Rogers, highway superintendent, commissioners decided to remove spring load limits from county roads. The restrictions are put in place each spring to protect roads during the thaw.
-- Commissioners learned the new county website is up and running at brown.sd.us. The site went live Monday. Quality Quick Print, of Aberdeen, oversaw the upgrade at a cost of $15,000.
The new website contains more information than the old one, including a crime report listing. From the main page, different department pages can be accessed. Departments that wanted to keep the look of their old webpages were allowed to do so.
Sivertsen said he thinks the new site is more user friendly. It also has an area, near the top, for notices and announcements. Some minor cleanup work still needs to be done, he said.
-- Judy Dosch, head of county maintenance, reported that the International Questers group has given the courthouse stained glass renovation project a $6,000 grant.
The overall cost of the job, including design, is $36,790. So far, $25,000 in grants have been procured for the work with the state Questers still considering making a contribution, Dosch said.
-- Commissioners approved spending roughly $6,000 to have the 12 benches and two tables used in the magistrate courtroom renovated at the state prison. The city's Municipal Building is being renovated and the benches and tables will go in the new courtroom when that job is finished.
-- Commissioners approved spending about $300 to have old county commission minute books digitally scanned.
-- Commissioners learned that NorthWestern Energy paid just more than $20,000 in property taxes under protest. Utility officials say that two new peaking stations should have qualified for what's called discretionary formula, which allows the full value of new construction to be added to the tax rolls 20 percent at a time.
Mary Worlie, director of equalization, said the situation is unusual in that peaking plants are centrally assessed because they are utilities. So she said she's not sure if the tax break applies as it would have had they been locally assessed. NorthWestern is challenging having to pay taxes on the full value.
-- A closed session was held to discuss personnel matters.
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-- Fees amount to $1.35 plus 3.5 percent of the cost of the ticket.
-- On a $50 general admission ticket, the fees would amount to $3.10. On a $70 reserved grandstand or stage front ticket, fees would amount to $4.80.
-- There's a slight break when multiple tickets are purchased as a 35-cent charge included in the overall total is applied once per order.
-- People who pay in cash at the fair or auditor's office will pay a 25-cent transaction fee.
Source: Paul Sivertsen, Brown County computer technology
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