Revenue sharing board to hear grant presentations Monday

MANISTEE — Local units of government in the county are hoping the Manistee County Local Revenue board has the Christmas spirit this year.

The reason for that is the revenue board will be hearing verbal presentations for the Cycle II-2011 grant cycle on Monday evening at 5 p.m. in the Manistee Township Hall. The verbal presentation is the first step local units of government must take in seeking the revenue sharing grants that will be awarded this cycle on Dec. 12.

Monday’s meeting will be filled with many grant requests as in this cycle there are 24 public safety grant applications totaling $620,565. They will also be hearing 16 grant applications under the other lawful local government application category in the amount of $680,000.

Grant applicants have submitted written grant requests prior to this meeting. On Monday evening they will be able to verbally discuss their requests and answer any questions from the board.

Since this is the second round of grants for 2011, it is also the time the revenue board must pay the local units of government the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (P.I.L.T.) funds. Those are the funds they would receive as ad valorem taxes if the Little River Casino was not a Class III gaming facility and paid taxes as a normal business.

The revenue board will consider approving those P.I.L.T. payments that total $1,352,596.55 to West Shore Community College ($115,946.12), Manistee Intermediate School District ($86,283.39), Manistee Area Public Schools ($764,545.86), Manistee County ($316,157.35), and Manistee Township ($69,663.83).

All the funds distributed by the revenue sharing board come from 2 percent of the electronic revenue at the Little River Casino. It was set up that way through a compact agreement between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the State of Michigan when the tribe opened the casino.

Funds are distributed by the local revenue sharing board in four categories that include public safety, payment in lieu of taxes, offset of local operating costs and other lawful government purpose applications. Since they began this process back in 1999, the tribe has paid $22,474,397.74 in 2 percent funds from the casino and the revenue board has distributed $20,34,929.41 back out to county government entities in the form of grants.

The revenue board is expected to get a report from Manistee County controller/administrator Tom Kaminski, whose office handles the board’s finances, on the funding that will be available for distribution this cycle. He is expected to tell the board that it has $1,773,867,70 presently in its account.

Twice each year, the revenue board receives its 2 percent payment from the casino and under the terms of the compact they must give 12.5 percent of those funds out in the form of public safety grants. This cycle the board received $1,009,017, meaning they will have to make $126,209.73 in public safety grants.

Kaminski will tell them that when they have met all their obligations it will leave them $271,070.32 in the form of “other lawful local government purpose grants” and additional public safety grants.

Revenue board members will also be taking under consideration paying an invoice in the amount $1,491.10. Those are the per diem expenses for the year of board members Dennis Bjorkquist, Colleen Kenny and Ken Hilliard.

Another item that they should be discussing will be consideration of contracting for an updated casino appraisal for this year. Those figures would be used in determining the 2012 P.I.L.T. payments.

Last year the board contracted with David Heinowski of Heinowski Appraisal and Consulting and Sharon Frischman of Frischman Appraisal and Consulting of Plymouth to handle the appraisal on the casino.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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