I may be reading the wrong papers, but I haven’t heard a peep from Chester City Hall since the State Supreme Court decided the gig is up on a guaranteed $10 million from Harrah’s casino every year.
However, we read in yesterday’s Delaware County Daily Times that…
A pair of Delaware County councilmen took a drive up to Harrisburg last week in the hopes of securing $4.3 million, but county staff are preparing to present a budget without it, in case the General Assembly can’t create the fix.
I’m sure they had room in their car to swing down to 4th Street and pick up our new Chief Financial Officer and still have room for the Mayor of Chester if he wasn’t already in Harrisburg being our State Rep.
I would think there’s more at stake in the City of Chester than the County of Delaware regarding the revised casino sweepstakes bill.
In Delaware County, the county receives $4.3 million from these revenues which equates to 3 percent of its budget while Chester receives $10 million or the equivalent of 25 percent of its budget from these funds.
Even the county guys are pretty cavalier when they’re quoted as saying…
“$4.3 million is a lot of money,” McBlain said. “The world won’t end. It certainly makes budgeting easier if we have it.”
Chester surely can’t say the same. A $10 million loss, or to receive anything less than $10 million, will probably require another re-write to the upcoming re-write of the revised recovery plan which was promised to be available sometime this month.
If I were to sort out the tea leaves, Chester should brace themselves for less money from the casino based on legislative leanings which seem to see this as an opportunity to spread casino money beyond the host city and county.
There are different opinions on the distribution of gaming revenues across the state. Some scenarios include taxing the casinos more so other counties can receive money. Another scenario is keeping the tax on the casinos the same but having existing counties and municipalities get less.
Since the State Supreme Court judges decided they didn’t want to be responsible for coming up with a solution, they punted this mess back to the legislators who come from all across the state. For their vote of approval, they’re likely going to want a piece of the action. There’s only so many dollars to go around.
I hope there’s at least a pair of Chester big shots in the ring fighting for Chester. If they are, they’ve been rather quiet up to now.