The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Towns, villages agree to deals
VVS in talks for possible revenue sharing
As of this week, three out of fifive municipalities offered deals by Oneida County have signed those agreements, while the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill School District begins pursuing a deal of its own.
VVS Superintendant Martha Group said the district has begun speaking with the county on a possible agreement as well.
Oneida County Executive Assistant James Genovese said to his knowledge, the Town of Augusta, the Village of Vernon and the City of Sherrill have been the only municipalities to approve the agreements offffffffffffered to them. Sylvan Beach’s board of trustees determined at a June 2 meeting that it would not reach a decision until a future date, stating members needed more time. The Town of Vienna has made no formal decision to the best of Genovese’s knowledge.
In the fifive agreements, which are almost identical, each municipality would sign a waiver stating that neither the current nor future administrations would challenge
the Settlement Agreement, the Oneida Indian Nation, or Oneida County on further matters pertaining to tax or land- into- trust legislation. In exchange, each municipality will receive around $ 58 per resident to make up for sales taxes, property taxes and other fees the tribe will not be paying. The funds come from slot machine revenue the tribe shares with the state, which passes a portion to the county which, in turn, will share it with municipalities that contain Nation land, provided they sign the no- lawsuit pact. Oneida County is set to receive around $ 3.13 million quarterly. In the Sherrill agreement, it was determined the city would receive a payment based on population percentage. Being only 1.3075 percent of Oneida County’s total population, the county would give them around $ 40,859 per quarter. Annually, the state is set to receive 25 percent of the casino’s slot revenues, roughly $ 50 million. Portions of this will be given to the counties; Oneida County will receive $ 12.5 million annually and Madison County is set to receive $ 3.5 million annually. All payments are to be made in quarterly installments. The exact amounts could fluctuate as the economy and other factors affect slot revenue. Genovese said no formal deals have been offered to VVS School District, though the county has begun those negotiations. Genovese said VVS is the only district being talked to at this time; Oneida City School District, which also has some Oneida County land, has not been approached by Oneida County. Group confirmed the district is in preliminary conversations with Oneida County regarding a deal, though there have been no figures or other information set yet. Group said the district will continue that dialogue with the county. Madison County will not be sharing its portion of the casino money, at least from the initial installment. Officials have said they will use the funds for county projects, including bridge and road repair.