June 27, 2016

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County to get $527K casino payment

The checks are in the mail for this year’s first distribution of funds from the state’s four casinos. Medina County’s share is $527,000, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

Since payments began in July 2012, Medina County has received a total of $2,945,000.

More than $2 million of the total came last year — the first full year any county received all four quarterly payments.

The county has used the money toward the repair of the courthouse clock tower and for the county’s bus system, which faces a budget shortfall because of a state-mandated reclassification to an urban transit system. The reclassification gives more money for daily operations but much less for on-demand transportation that serves most of the county’s rural residents.

The county diverted some casino revenues away from 2014 capital improvement projects to fill the busing gap, but County Administrator Chris Jakab said officials still managed to put $715,000 into the county’s capital improvement fund, which paid for the repair and repaving of several parking lots, replaced the roof at the county human resources center and upgraded the jail kitchen, along with other miscellaneous projects.

The Sheriff’s Office also got $100,000 to upgrade jail management software.

More than $1 million was credited to the county’s general fund for operating expenses. Jakab said the county didn’t receive as much as expected — falling short about $300,000 — and he expects to fall short of next year’s estimates too.

“Based upon multiyear estimates by folks in Columbus, we had originally estimated that the county would receive $3,065,000 in 2014. We have now decreased that annual amount to $2,200,000,” he said. “It is anticipated that these funds will again be used for general operating expenses, capital improvements and reserve balance.”

By law, each of the state’s casinos — in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo — is required to file and remit taxes to the state daily, and the revenues from those taxes are divided up among schools, counties, cities and state agencies.

Of the tax revenues, 51 percent is divided among the counties, based on population, and paid in quarterly installments in January, April, July and October.

About a third of the casino tax revenues goes to Ohio schools. This year’s first payment gives school districts in Medina County more than $790,000 to share. Medina County schools got nearly $1.4 million to split among them in 2013.

The rest of the funds are divided between the four casino host cities, the state’s Casino Control Commission, the Ohio State Racing Commission, the Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Training fund and the state’s Problem Casino Gambling and Addictions fund.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.