Oneida supervisor unhappy with Madison County payout

Published Apr 20, 2017 at 4:00pm

ONEIDA — Oneida City Supervisor Joseph A. Magliocca discussed what he believes is an unfair distribution of state money by Madison County to its municipalities with the Oneida Common Council Tuesday evening.

The money is meant to reimburse the county for hosting various businesses owned and operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, including Chittenango’s Yelow Brick Road Casino and seven SavOn convenience stores. Magliocca disagrees with its distribution because he believes the City of Oneida is not receiving its fair share.

“We discussed the payment plan in executive session, which is good because we had a very spirited debate. We voted for this under duress,” Magliocca said.

The distribution formula is based on assessed value, and the Town of Sullivan and Village of Chiittenango receive a larger share because they host the Yellow Brick Road Casino. Magliocca said Oneida deserves more of that money.

“The Oneidas own $50 million worth of land in Madison County, and $29 million of that is in the City of Oneida. We have four of the seven SavON stores located here,” he said.

State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approved $2.25 million in payments to Madison County in the state’s 2017 budget to help reduce the cost of hosting Oneida Nation businesses. Madison County is losing an estimated $6 million a year through infrastructure costs associated with hosting these businesses.

“We keep hearing how we are losing $6 million a year, but it’s really closer to $8 million because the land owned by the Oneidas is commercial property that we are unable to collect taxes on.

“The Oneida Nation does a lot of good things for us. They are the largest employers in the area and they have brought in residual business opportunities, but there comes a point when you can’t sugarcoat this,” Magliocca said.

Madison County had sought host county status to receive a larger payment from the state and the state legislature had approved the move. Cuomo vetoed the legislation because it violated terms of the 2013 gaming compact between the state, the Oneida Indian Nation and Madison and Oneida counties.

The $2.25 million payment was meant to offset Cuomo’s veto.

“I am very thankful to Governor Cuomo for keeping his promise to me and the residents of Madison County and working diligently to ensure this revenue was included in the adopted budget,” Madison County Chairman John M. Becker said.

The compact was designed to settle property tax issue between the Oneida Nation and the counties. Madison County received a one-time $11 million payment and receives $3.5 million each year.

The compact settled outstanding tax issues for land purchased by the Oneida Nation in Madison and Oneida counties. The Oneida Nation was given exclusive gaming rights in a 10-county area.

Under the agreement Madison County received a one-time payment from the Oneida Nation for $11 million and had received yearly payments from the state share totaling $3.5 million. Oneida County receives 25 percent of revenues generated by nation-owned enterprises, approximately $12.5 million a year, and another $2.5 million until 2033 to offset property tax losses.

Madison County is happy with the $5.75 million payment, even though it is guaranteed only for this year.

“Next year we will have to go and fight for it again,” Oneida City Supervisor John Reinhardt, who also chairs the county’s finance, ways and means committee, said.

Magliocca plans to team with other Oneida supervisors to fight for a bigger share.

“This is going to be a priority for myself and the other Oneida supervisors next year,” he said.