Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Casino revenue decisions will take time, cities say

April 11, 2012

The cities of Wyandotte County have received the first casino revenue distributions — now, how to spend them?

Bonner Springs and Edwardsville each opted not to include any casino revenues in their 2012 budgets, not wanting to rely on the funds until they had them in hand. Now that they have received the first distribution from the month of February, with more sure to come, each city must determine how those funds might best be used.

The cities received their first distributions on Friday, March 30. Bonner received $70,810.70, while Edwardsville received $44,837.56.

Should that level of intake be repeated for the other 10 months of the year, at the end of 2012, Bonner will have received a total of $778,918, while Edwardsville’s distributions would total $493,213.

Bonner Springs has already decided it will hold onto its casino funds and discuss possibilities for their use at their first 2013 budget retreat on May 24.

While some may petition that the funds be used for a variety of other causes, Mayor Clausie Smith said he expects they first will be used as city staff has suggested in the past: to boost the city’s reserve and contingency funds and to repair city streets.

Mike Webb, Edwardsville’s city manager, says the city also will hold onto its casino distributions for a while, though he said the city doesn’t have a meeting scheduled to discuss how the funds will be spent.

Webb said they likely will wait until it has received at least three payments of casino revenue distributions before the city council meets to discuss their use.

“I think it’s still a little bit early to know how much money it’s going to be,” he said. “I think our philosophy or thinking is that (first) check is probably below what the average will be.”

Webb said city staff and council previously have discussed putting the revenues in a separate fund used for capital improvements rather than funding city operations.

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