portsmouth-dailytimes.com

County receives first round of casino money

Bret Bevens, PDT Sports Writer

August 7, 2012

WAYNE ALLEN


PDT Staff Writer


The Scioto County Commissioners reported Tuesday receiving $69,000 from a state casino tax.


“This money is distributed quarterly and that’s not quite three complete months in operation for two (Toledo and Cleveland) casinos,” said Skip Riffe, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners.


He said a casino in Columbus is expected to open this fall with another one in Cincinnati expected to open next year. In 2009, Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment that provides for a total of four casino facilities to be located in this state: Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati.


According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, “by law, casinos pay a gross revenue tax of 33 percent split between entities including counties with shares determined by population, school districts with shares by enrollment, the four casino cities, the casino commission and programs for problem gamblers. The tax revenue collected from the gross casino revenue tax is split among seven funds benefiting the counties and certain large cities, school districts, host cities, the Casino Control Commission, the Ohio State Racing Commission, law enforcement training, and problem gambling and addictions.”


Riffe said the county did not anticipate receiving the income. This news comes as the county is anticipating property tax revenue up $250,000 above estimates. It was also announced the counties permissive sales tax revenue is up $300,000 above estimates for the first five months of the year.


“This is definitely welcomed news. The money will be placed into the general fund,” Riffe said.


This budgetary news comes as the county is taking steps towards getting out from under the emergency status by the auditor of state in August of 2009. Riffe said that status could be lifted from the county as soon as next year. He said the steps to having the status lifted include retiring the $557,000 deficit associated with the former juvenile detention center.


“We are hoping to do that (retire the debt) this year. If revenue continues to come in like it is, we think we can get that done this year,” Riffe said. “After that, we have to do (20)14, (20)15 and (20)16 budget projections. Once the state is satisfied with those numbers, they’ll release us.”


He said the budgets for 2012 and 2013 are complete. “Once the (20)13 recovery plan gets approved, and we are hoping that happens at the August meeting of the Scioto County Financial Planing and Recovery Commission meeting. We will start planing for ‘14, ‘15 and ‘16,” Riffe said.


He said all of this depends on how long it takes the state to be satisfied with projected budget numbers and a number of other factors.


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.