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Warren County Commissioners Approve Taxing District for Racino
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:40:56 AM - Monroe Ohio

Warren County commissioners approved creating a tax increment financing (TIF) district on Tuesday for a new racino to be developed by a partnership including Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. and Delaware North Cos. Game and Entertainment in Monroe. 

This plan will have the property owner pay the full amount of property taxes during the 10-year time period, but 75 percent of the tax money would go to a special fund controlled by the commissioner which would be spent on public improvements at or around the site.

The plan is expected to bring in 700 jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue to the area.

This special district was approved so the Lebanon Raceway can move from the Warren County Fairgrounds to a new 120-acre site, currently a state prison farm located at Ohio 63 and Union Road in Turtlecreek Township, which is much closer to Interstate 75. The sale of this property for $5 million from the state of Ohio to Miami Valley Gaming & Racing of Buffalo, N.Y. is currently pending.

A draft site plan filed by Miami Valley Gaming includes an 188,000-square-foot casino and a five-eighths-mile track with a two-level grandstand. The race track would seat up to 700 people. In addition, the casino would have up to 2,500 video lottery terminals but no gaming tables. The casino would be open 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Future expansion may also include a hotel, conference center and a parking garage.

Operators plan to spend a total of more than $175 million, which includes $110 million in construction, $5 million for the land, and $60 million in furniture, equipment and fixture costs.

Ever since Ohio voters approved casino gambling via a constitutional amendment in 2009, video slots have been challenged legally. These challenges, however, were eventually dropped when Governor John Kasich authorized racinos on the grounds that they’re permitted because of a 1973 constitutional amendment which authorized a state lottery.

Many taxing units in the area will benefit financially from the racino because the property is currently owned by the state, and governments don’t pay property taxes. These include Lebanon City Schools, Turtlecreek Township, Warren County, and the Warren County Career Center as well as other taxing units. During the 10 year TIF, these taxing units will receive 25 percent of the property tax revenue.

The Warren County Regional Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the plan and make a recommendation to county commissioners on October 25.


Source: Cincinnati News

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