On Friday, April 8 on Forty Mile Road, the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians presented a check of nearly $700,000 to Yuba County during the sunrise groundbreaking ceremony for the tribe’s Fire Mountain Casino Resort.
Made under a 2002 memorandum of understanding (MOU), the contribution doesn’t necessarily represent a major revenue-changing boost to the county budget, but was made in lieu of developer fees that in most instances of any large development are imposed by the county. The check for $697,120 will be used to offset road improvement costs as well as other county services that may be affected by the proposed casino instead of going into Yuba County’s general fund. Yuba County’s community development director Kevin Mallen echoed that and added, “It has to be related to facility impact fees,” according to the Appeal-Democrat. Mallen also said that the use of the develop impact fees will be tracked separately from other similar impact fees. Under the MOU, annual payments will be made in subsequent years to pay for county services that are affected by the casino, which include law enforcement and road maintenance. Since the plans for the casino call for its own well for water service and a self-contained sewer treatment plant, the money won’t have to be spent on utilities.
Similarly, a check for more than $114,000 received by Marysville, won’t make a major impact on its struggling budget, but made under a MOU in 2005 with the Butte County tribe; it will also go into the city’s general fund with spending to be determined by the City Council. On Friday, City Manager Walter Munchheimer acknowledged that city services aren’t likely to be affected by the proposed casino. Munchheimer, who at the time the agreement was reached wasn’t with the city, said, “My understanding is that this MOU was approved in exchange for the City Council not protesting this project at any stage of the process.”
Commenting on the contribution from the casino, he said that while it’s not a trivial amount, it represents a very small percentage of Marysville’s total $7 million to $8 million budget. Munchheimer said the city’s problem is that the one-time payment isn’t sustainable. The check received by Marysville will go into an “unanticipated revenue” budget category, and the uses for it will be considered when a 2016-17 spending plan is discussed by the City Council. Annual contributions of “up to $250,000 are also called for by the MOU with the city. Those payments will go towards funding community services such as education, public safety, and other programs.
Meanwhile, two Northern California tribes along with the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians have enlisted the help of Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville to assist them in blocking the Enterprise Rancheria’s proposed off-reservation tribal casino near Madera.