Dearborn Co. Riverboat Revenue Sharing Repeal Tabled Again
By Mike Perleberg
(Dearborn County, Ind.) – Dearborn County’s riverboat revenue sharing with cities and towns will continue without change, at least for now.
Dearborn County Council voted on Tuesday, July 25 to indefinitely table taking any action toward ending the practice of sharing the county’s casino admissions tax revenue with the cities of Aurora and Greendale, as well as the towns of St. Leon, West Harrison, Moores Hill, and Dillsboro.
One member of council voted against tabling the revenue sharing question. Charlie Keyes wanted to dismiss the matter outright.
The vote stems from a recent audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts which determined that a 1997 county council resolution establishing that the revenue sharing with the towns and cities is illegal.
Under the resolution passed 20 years ago, Dearborn County shares a quarter of its admissions tax with the cities and towns. Of that percentage, the funds are distributed among the cities and towns according to their populations.
To lose the riverboat dollars would be detrimental for the municipalities. City and town officials have argued that the funding supports emergency services, builds and maintains infrastructure, or is saved. Also, the residents of those cities and towns voted in the 1990s to help make riverboat gaming legal in the county and deserve to enjoy the benefits.
Those concerns were enough to get members of county council to tap the brakes on canceling the 1997 resolution in June.
County council president Liz Morris said at last week’s meeting that the SBOA is attempting to resolve differing opinions on the legality of the revenue sharing. Until the state reaches a conclusion and gives direction, the county will maintain the status quo.
At Tuesday’s meeting of Dearborn County Commissioners, president Shane McHenry said that commissioners should take no action either until there is further direction from county council.
“We’ll sit back and wait for the State Board of Accounts to see that there won’t be issues moving forward,” McHenry said. “All in all, things will work out the way we wanted them to.”
Greendale Mayor Alan Weiss has been a vocal advocate against repeal of the 1997 resolution. He is glad to see the city’s cut of riverboat revenue remain intact.
“We appreciate you working with us. That’s all we ask, that you work with us,” he told the commissioners.
With neither council or commissioners taking action, the revenue sharing will continue, although dollar amounts distributed to each city could fluctuate each year depending on population changes.