Councilman wants discussion on casino tax revenue

December 5, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Second Ward City Councilman Rich Saddler says he has sent an e-mail to Portsmouth Mayor David Malone to have him place a discussion of the city’s intention to request one-quarter of Scioto County’s Ohio Casino Tax revenue.

“It will be a discussion only to try to figure out a way as to how we can possibly meet with the (Scioto County) Commissioners to talk to them about it at least,” Saddler said. “During my ward report, I was just kind of bringing it out. We talked to some of the guys before about it off the record, and some of the guys on Council were interested and the other ones hadn’t really heard about it, so I just wanted to bring it up here at the last meeting. So the Mayor is supposed to be putting it on the Mayor’s Conference Agenda for next Monday (Dec. 10).”

At the last Portsmouth City Council meeting, Saddler, during his ward report, asked that legislation be presented during Mayor David Malone’s conference agenda at the next meeting to call for the city to enter into negotiations with the county for what he believes is the city’s share of that revenue.

“I understand by the Ohio Revised Code that it is restricted only to the counties in the county coffers,” Saddler said. “My personal opinion is that municipalities like ourselves all across the state should get a percentage of that Casino Tax from the County Commissioners.”

Saddler used the population comparison to make his point for asking for a quarter of the money.

“Right now Scioto County has approximately 80,000 people and the city of Portsmouth has approximately 20,000 which would place us right at about 25 percent,” Saddler said. “I would like to see us go into some kind of discussions or negotiations with the County Commissioners to see about coming to to an agreement to see if we can get 25 percent of the Casino money.”

Saddler said the negotiations could be based on figures such as the 2010 census.

At a subsequent Scioto County Commissioner’s meeting, the Commissioners were asked what their reaction to such a proposal would be. Commissioner Skip Riffe responded to an assertion that the city should get 25 percent of the money.

“If that’s the case, then that should have been written into the law,” Riffe said.”That’s fine. They can proceed, and they can come to us and we can talk about it.”

“The trade off would be if they (city of Portsmouth) paid their share of the dog pound, and they would pay their share of incarceration fees for the people from the city in the Scioto County Jail,” Commissioner Tom Reiser said. “After that, they’ll probably forget about the 25 percent.”

Reiser said the city used to pay the county for the incarceration of prisoners but they stopped. He said that in 2000 the city paid around $150,000.

Frank lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com