City picks up the tab for state fairground diesel

With fuel supplies running low, the city of Du Quoin, Illinois, says it will pick up the tab for the state’s diesel bill to keep the doors open at the Du Quoin State Fair Grounds.

"The fairgrounds bring a ton of tourism to Du Quoin," said Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi.

Over the weekend, Alongi found out that four upcoming events at the arena could be cut because the fairgrounds fuel supplier had shut off the supply of diesel due to the budget impasse.

"They told me 1,000 gallons would get them through the end of the year, so I came back and made a decision that we’re going to buy them 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel," said Alongi.

Spending $2,000 on diesel may seem like an unnecessary cost for some, but Alongi says it could cost the city and the state thousands more if these doors are allowed to close.

“With those four events, we’re looking at $8,000- to $10,000-worth of sales tax and bed tax coming back to the city,” said Alongi.  “If I can help it, I’m not going to let the state hold us hostage as far as our tourism dollars.  I thought this was stepping up to the plate and getting the job done."

Because the amount is under $5,000, Alongi didn’t need the approval of city council, but he did specify the donation is only for diesel.

We reached out to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration and received this response from spokeswoman Catherine Kelly:  

“DuQuoin has a long history in Illinois, and we appreciate the support from the city and mayor. This issue is another consequence of the General Assembly’s failure to pass a balanced budget, and the Governor will continue to build on the compromises already reached with the legislature and enact structural reforms to help grow the economy and create jobs.”

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