Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Shingle Springs tribe compact amended: Change saves tribe money; county deal shifted

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From page A1 | November 26, 2012 | 7 Comments

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the Shingle Springs Tribe of Miwok Indians, who run the Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs, signed an amended tribal compact on Nov. 15.

The amended compact, according to a press release from the tribe, “is designed to facilitate a refinancing of the casino’s financial structure, placing it on sound financial footing.” The previous compact gave more revenue to the state and other parties than to the tribe.

This amended compact is critical to improving the position of the tribe’s Red Hawk Casino and benefits the tribe, the casino and our dedicated team members,” Tribal Chairman Nicholas Fonseca said. “Gov. Brown recognizes that this amended compact is good for all of us and ensures the long-term financial prosperity of the tribe and its casino.”

However, the amended compact requires the casino to decrease the number of slot machines it runs from 5,000 to 3,000, said tribe General Counsel AmyAnn Taylor. In 2020, the casino can raise that to 4,000, still below the original number.

Fonseca noted the amended compact will allow for the tribe to continue to provide jobs to both members of the tribe and the local community in the casino and the tribal-run medical center, open to the public.

In a county Memorandum of Understanding, the county will pay the tribe $2.6 million per year, Taylor said. Originally, the tribe was to pay $5.2 million per year for a high-occupancy lane  —c ommonly referred to as the carpool lane — on Highway 50. However, Taylor said, the county was able to find the money elsewhere.

“Since the county was able to find other funding for those HOV lanes, it requested that the agreement be amended to allow that money to be used for public improvement inside a specified area as designated on a map,” Taylor said. “In exchange for the tribe allowing the money to be used for broader uses and to support the tribe in its health care efforts, the county pledged to donate $2.6 million per year to the tribe for health purposes. This will greatly assist the tribe in continuing to provide care for the community, especially those who can’t find care anywhere else.”

The amended compact will be sent to the state Legislature for approval. “This amended compact allows our gaming enterprise to be in a position to continue to help our tribal citizens, the state and our local community,” Fonseca said. “We look forward to its passage.”

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Discussion | 7 comments

  • Phil VeerkampNovember 25, 2012 - 9:55 pm

    Will a 40% reduction in the number of slot machines mean that the remaining slot machines will have to . . . uh . . . "work harder"? I think so. Oh well, it WAS fun.

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  • citizenNovember 26, 2012 - 10:19 am

    The county pays the tribe $2.6M pa so that . . . . ??? My point of view: EDC was better off without subsidized gambling.

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  • Greenwood BillNovember 27, 2012 - 12:16 pm

    WTH? We are paying them now? How the heck does that work? Time to put an end to this joke.

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  • Dave in KelseyNovember 27, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    Sounds like the secret backroom deal just got worse. The tribe is going to put the money to "other places on the map," while the county pays the tribe 2 million a year? Wow! Sounds like money laundring to me. And where will that work occur? Any county supervisors need some roads paved/improved? This is so "IN YOUR FACE" they don't give a hoot anymore.

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  • Sue ShingleNovember 27, 2012 - 3:07 pm

    If you read the detail of the article and the amendment correctly, you will see that the tribe is still paying the county the same amount per year...the adjustment is that the county will now make an annual payment to help the tribe's health and wellness center, which does serve ALL of El Dorado County. Subsidising healthcare for those that need it (small business owners, the elderly, etc.) is something I fully support.

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  • citizenNovember 27, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    Sue Shingle, where is the part about the tribe paying the county the same amount per year? Do you mean the $5.2M for the carpool lane that the county found somewhere else? As for the casino's sewage spill into downstream water, has that been fixed? Absent an accurate P&L Statement, it's hard to determine the beneficiaries of our $2.6M. Betcha that money would take care of the library funding problem. Ever wonder why citizens are pi**ed when asked to pony up for new taxes?

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  • Ron BriggsNovember 27, 2012 - 6:25 pm

    From my seat here's what is going on. Part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the county and Tribe entered into in 1996 specifically provided the Tribe pay $5.2 million over 20 years to build High Occupancy Vehicle" (HOV) lanes on Highway 50 from county line at El Dorado Hills to Red Hawk Interchange. As a result of federal stimulus, the county successfully applied for transportation grants and those dollars coupled with Tribal payments, were used to fund and build HOV lanes. Since the HOV lanes were now 100% funded, the county, about 18 months ago, suggested to the Tribe a change in the MOU provision for HOV funding is in order and there may be mutually beneficial ways to use the annual payments $5.2 million. In open session a couple of weeks ago the Board of Supervisors agreed to change only HOV language, leaving the balance of the MOU alone. The new language continues the Tribe paying county the same $5.2 million annually allowing county to use $2.6 million annually for our roads within a specific area of mitigation that essentially starts at Ponderosa Road down Pleasant Valley up Highway 49 to Coloma to Lotus Road back to North Single back to Ponderosa. Before this amendment our total road fund is about $1.5 million annually. Adding $2.6 million annualy is a boom for our local roads. In return, the county agreed to contribute $2.6 million annually to the Tribal Health Center. We have limited road funds for our county roads and we have limited affordable health care service providers. If things were left alone, meaning nothing being done, then, a probable outcome may have been a prolonged argument over the disposition of the $5.6 million. I thought then, and, more so now, El Dorado County is very well served by amending only the HOV language with money into affordable health care and roads. Ron Briggs, Supervisor County of El Dorado District IV 621-6513

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