counties reach revenue agreement
with Belterra Casino
most of its money on roads
(April 2007) After a lengthy standoff with
Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, several southern Indiana counties
in March reached an agreement on revenue sharing that will continue
to pour money into road and other improvement projects.
Jefferson, Ripley and Crawford counties negotiated the agreement in
time to avoid a possible court battle over their share of casino profits.
Jefferson County Commissioners say they are pleased with the results
because it means they can restart projects that had been stalled by
lack of money.
Im glad we could reach an agreement that we can all be happy
with, said commission President Julie Berry.
Since 2002, Jefferson County, Ind., has received about $916,447 from
a revenue sharing agreement with Belterra Casino, located in next-door
Switzerland County. The majority of the revenue goes into a fund for
road improvements, and the rest of the money is earmarked for economic
development and historic preservation.
Berry said 80 percent of the money is used solely for paving and repairing
roads, while 10 percent goes toward various historic projects and the
other 10 percent is used for economic development through Madison-Jefferson
County Economic Development Corp, or MIDCOR.
The dispute over payments began when the Indiana Gaming Commission allowed
casinos to stay open 24 hours. Casino officials claimed that changed
the original terms of the contract with the counties on revenue sharing.
As a result, payments to the counties declined gradually from more than
$585,000 in 2002 to less than $275,000 in 2006. Jefferson Countys
share of that shrank from $292,716 in 2002 to $137,428 in 2006.
Under the new agreement, which becomes effective July 1, Belterra will
pay the counties 0.257 percent of its adjusted gross receipts, with
Belterras annual liability to the counties not to exceed $1 million.
There is also a special consideration in the event the casinos
adjusted gross receipts fall below $160 million for any calendar year.
In that case, the following year, Belterra will pay the counties 0.17
percent of adjusted gross receipts in that year.
MIDCOR Executive Director Corey Murphy said the county has a contract-for-services
agreement with the economic development organization. We use the
revenue sharing funds to market industrial properties for business and
industry and help existing industry with retention and expansion.
MIDCOR also has similar contract agreements with the City of Madison
and the Town of Hanover.
County Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski said the money for historic preservation
is placed into a fund, and it is dispersed for various projects approved
by the commissioners. We have specific guidelines that we have
to follow when organizations ask for financial help.
Some of the projects that have recently received revenue sharing funds
include Girls Inc. for building needs and a renovation project on the
caboose located outside the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Both of these projects are tied to historic preservation, and
they fit the criteria, said Pietrykowski.
As for road paving or improvements, the commission try to repair the
countys roads in order of priority, tending to the worst problems
first. He said that this year, in addition to the casino funds, Indianas
Major Moves initiative, which involved selling toll roads, will contribute
funds for road improvements. We will be paving far more roads
than we have in the past, he said.
Berry said some of the past revenue in the road fund was used for the
Ivy Tech Community College expansion. Its one of the rare
exceptions to our rule for the use of those funds, but we felt it was
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