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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, October 01, 2015

NorCo Slots Revenue On Track for $1.8 Million

Northampton County's Gaming Board, which doles out slots revenue from the Sands Casino, received a quarterly payment of $460,805.78 in August. This puts the Board on track to receive $1.8 million this year. That's a good thing because the Board has already awarded $1.66 million this year in what are referred to as impact grants to Northampton County, Bethlehem and the five communities surrounding Bethlehem. This leaves the cupboard bare for remaining Northampton County municipalities.

At their September 28 meeting, the Board unanimously voted, on the recommendation of Joe Kelly, to allow municipalities who have $500 or less money left over from a grant to just keep the sum, instead of remitting a check for a few cents, as has already happened in one instance.

Executive Director Karen Collis also reported that she visited five municipalities who have received grants and that "all went well." Even a ride she reportedly took on Bethlehem's new HazMat truck, which she survived.

The Board also entered into a new agreement for legal services with Norris, McLaughlin and Marcus, the firm that currently represents the Gaming Board and charges $14,000 a year. Scott Allinson had proposed a $10,000 retainer, but agreed immediately when Board member Dave Heintzelman suggested it be reduced to $8,000. The Board will also pay $195/hr for any litigation that arises.

Allinson considers that possibility remote. "If there was going to be litigation involving this authority, it would have happened in the first three years," he said.

In the Fall of 2017, the Board will issue a Request for Proposals for legal services.

The Gaming Board is made up of nine members: Joe Kelly (Bethlehem), Tom Nolan (Bethlehem Tp), Gerald Yob (Freemansburg), Jay Finnigan (Hanover, Chair), Dave Heintzelman (Hellertown), Dave Willard (Lower Saucon), Tony Pristash (Northampton), John Dally (Pen Argyl) and James Pennington (Lower Nazareth).

The Gaming Board only has authority over slots revenue. Northampton County Council decided in July to give itself the final authority over any disbursements from the $1.2 million in table games revenue expected this year, along with nearly $3 million already sitting in county coffers. Executive John Brown has proposed a grants and loan program from that fund to stimulate economic and community development, especially in older boroughs. Those grants will require Council approval.  


Anonymous said...

Still waiting for my taxes to go down while I see all the new pretty police Explorers and unmarked Taurus cars.

Anonymous said...

Your taxes would go up if the municipalities weren't getting the police vehicles thanks to the Gaming Board. Know the facts.