As it continues with a plan to significantly expand its Cache Creek Casino Resort, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has now reportedly agreed an extension to its agreement with the government of Yolo County that has seen it promise to dole out more than $161 million over the next 22 years.
According to a report from The Davis Enterprise newspaper, the new deal signed by the northern California tribe replaced the preceding agreement enacted in 2002 and has come into affect immediately, which means that work to further develop the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation’s casino just outside of the small community of Brooks could begin within the next few weeks.
As part of the 22-year deal, the federally-recognized tribe will make a one-time payment to Yolo County of $1.5 million while it has also agreed to hand over $50,000 to local fire districts annually and help to fund area community projects and programs to the tune of $300,000 each year. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is to moreover bequeath $300,000 per year to support the costs of employing two additional sheriff’s deputies as well as $20,000 annually to the California Highway Patrol.
“I still get calls from other counties asking ‘how was Yolo County able to negotiate a package like this that so comprehensively addresses impacts associated with a casino’ [as] this is not a normal relationship around the state,” Phil Pogledich, County Counsel for Yolo County, told The Davis Enterprise before calling the first-of-its-kind deal “a landmark agreement”.
Pogledich declared that the deal “is just as momentous as the 2002 inter-governmental agreement” and added that the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation had gone “above and beyond any legal obligations” it may have had.
The agreement approved on Tuesday will additionally see the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation pay the county $6.16 million a year complete with a built-in 2.53% cost escalator as well as up to $5 million for road improvements for Highway 16 and agree to assist in the funding of enhanced public transportation links.
“We are very pleased and excited about the agreement because it will provide valuable resources focused specifically on important programs and concerns in the county and valley we share as our home,” Leland Kinter, Tribal Chairman for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, told the local Daily Democrat newspaper. “This shows how much we can achieve by working together, government-to-government, as partners.”
Opened as a bingo hall in 1985 before adding card games in 1993, the Cache Creek Casino Resort has since undergone four expansions or remodels but is still reportedly often operating at capacity with guests regularly unable to extend their visits due to a lack of lodging, particularly at weekends.
In order to address this shortfall, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is now free to add 459 suites to the venue’s existing 200-room hotel, which opened in 2004. This nine-story hotel tower is to subsequently be joined by a new 100,000-gallon pool, a lounge area and a 13,350 sq ft ballroom with capacity for up to 1,325 guests while 9,475 sq ft of dining space is planned as well as 118 parking stalls and 102,956 sq ft of “back-of-house” space.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation earlier reassured locals that the planned expansion to its casino, which is located some 46 miles northwest of Sacramento, would be “entirely on the trust land” in order to minimize its “off-reservation” footprint.
“The hotel expansion is going to offer great benefits to our county and valley, generating hundreds of construction and permanent jobs and serving as an important entertainment asset as our region grows as a tourist destination,” Kinter told the Daily Democrat. “It is great to be starting with such a strong [and] cooperative agreement with the county, focused on delivering important benefits to the local community as well. Everyone wins under our new agreement.”
The Davis Enterprise reported that the previous 2002 agreement between Yolo County and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation had been due to expire in 2020 while the new deal furthermore contains an optional five-year extension, which can be triggered at the tribe’s discretion, that could see it run until 2044.
“With this extra capacity, we will finally be able to welcome more overnight guests, saving them trips on the road,” Kinter told The Davis Enterprise. “We also look forward to offering more rooms and amenities for our neighbors and other local visitors including those coming to our region as an agri-tourism destination.”