Two schools, Leland Twp. get checks in Tribal gaming payout
Units of government and nonprofit organizations in Leelanau County this week received more than $295,000 in “2-percent” casino revenue sharing funds from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
That amount represents more than 37 percent of the nearly $778,442 paid out by the tribe for the first half of 2012. The distribution of checks from the tribe occurred at a “press event” held Tuesday morning at the tribe’s Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme.
Several representatives from various Leelanau County governmental and nonprofit organizations were on hand to accept the checks and express their gratitude to the Tribal Council for granting the money.
The township government spent some $116,000 on the dredging project before township officials knew where all the money was coming from. The township was counting on the tribe to pull through with a portion of the funding. Tribal commercial fishing vessels frequently use Leland Harbor.
“Last April, you could have walked across the entrance to our harbor it had so much sand in it,” Larkin said shortly after Tribal Chairman Alvin Pedwaydon handed him a check.
“The U.S. Congress did not appropriate money for the dredging project as they had in past years, the Army Corps of Engineers did nothing to help us, and the Michigan Waterways Commission simply did not pull through,” Larkin said. “But the tribe did, and for that we are very grateful.”
Leland Township’s check was not the largest received by a unit of government in Leelanau County, however.
Suttons Bay Public Schools received $80,000 from the tribe to add to the money the district regularly receives from the federal government to operate an Indian Education program providing extra services and tutoring exclusively for Native American students.
The largest single amount given to any unit of government in the latest payout was $100,000 which went to Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Indian Education Program.
Northport Public School received $30,000 for its Indian Education Program. In addition, Northport received $15,880 to purchase laptop computers for students.
Under an ongoing government-togovernment contract with the tribe, Leelanau County received $63,875 to house prisoners brought in to the county jail by Tribal Police.
Numerous other groups also received funding:
• United Way of Northwest Michigan received $9,769 for a service learning initiative for school age children;
• The SEEDS Youth Corps program received $12,000 for an after-school work program;
• Leelanau Christian Neighbors received $10,000 for its Neighborhood Assistance Ministry;
• Leelanau County’s Office of Emergency Management received $10,325 to purchase additional heart defibrillators and associated equipment for sheriff’s department patrol cars;
• Leelanau Township received $18,115 to purchase two outboard engines for an emergency services rescue boat;
• The Suttons Bay-Bingham Fire and Rescue Department received $4,630 to purchase a variety of equipment used for training and operations;
• Leelanau County Fire Chiefs Association received $16,100 to host trainers to conduct two specialized classes for local firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
A published “itinerary” for the tribe’s “press event” on Tuesday did not include an opportunity for members of the press to ask questions of tribal officials in an on-the-record forum. The event did, however, include an opportunity for 2-percent recipients to speak. Many did, with most expressing gratitude to the tribe.
As a sovereign nation, the tribe pays no local property taxes on any of its reservation lands or on either of its two gaming facilities, the Leelanau Sands Casino in Peshawbestown and the Turtle Creek Casino in Grand Traverse County.
Under terms of a 1993 federal court consent decree, the tribe is required to pay out two-percent of its slot machine revenue twice yearly to units of government in the “immediate vicinity” of its tribal casinos for “impacts associated
Alvin Pedwaydon announces recipients of tribal 2-percent funding at a “press event” Tuesday in Grand Traverse County. with the existence and location” of the casinos and for “governmental services” the tribe receives.
The amount the tribe is paying out in the current cycle is about five-percent more than was paid out at the same time last year, meaning that revenues from slot machines have increased by about the same percentage from last year.
Since the 2-percent allocations began in 1994, the tribe has paid out more than $29 million to hundreds of units of government and nonprofit organizations within its six-county service area.
In the latest 2-percent allocation period, the tribe considered 84 applications for funding with requests totaling nearly $1.8 million. During a special session on July 25, the Tribal Council decided to award the nearly $778,442 available in the current cycle to 43 of the applicants.