Public forum discusses use of Horseshoe Casino revenue - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Public forum discusses use of casino revenue

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Cincinnati City Council's Job Growth Committee held a public meeting Monday to discuss what should be done with revenue from the Horseshoe Casino.

The latest projections from the developer project roughly $21 million to the City during the first full year of the casino's operation. The City of Cincinnati is currently anticipating $14 million in revenue during that first full year.

In total, 17 people ended up speaking in front of the Job Growth Committee.

Suggestions for use of the revenue included investing in city neighborhoods, funneling funding into the city's retirement system and one speaker even suggested giving the money back to the casino.

"[Council members] are just going to have to live within their means, provide the basic services and not be involved in things that should be a part of the private business sector," argued Libertarian Jim Berns.

Berns believes the casino could use the returned revenue to increase payouts which he argues would give Horseshoe a competitive advantage and ultimately benefit the city.

Councilman Charlie Winburn's proposal for the money includes taking the rest of the uncommitted casino revenue and exchanging it for taxable bonds to invest in a long term economic development plan. Winburn says he wants to see the money used to create jobs, promote neighborhoods, and develop businesses.    

Like the public, however, council members do not fully agree on how the revenue should be spent.

"I would advocate for a balanced approach which means some of the revenue goes toward economic development investments so that we are growing our economic pie over the long term, but just as important in the short term [is] bridging this year's budget deficit so that we're meeting peoples' expectation for basic services," argued councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, Vice Chair of the committee.

Previously the City recommended using $3 million of the revenue towards the funding of the Streetcar and four million to go towards economic development projects.

Horseshoe Casino is scheduled to open in the spring.

The City Manger is expected to release his proposed budget next week that could include recommendations on how to spend the first of the casino revenue coming in to the city. 

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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