Madison County eyes multi-year payments

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WAMPSVILLE — Madison County is seeking multi-year payment installments from the Oneida Indian Nation for hosting Nation-owned properties in the county. Having a yearly, guaranteed payment will help the county plan on what money would be available to disburse among the county’s municipalities.

On May 30, 2013 New York State, the Oneida Indian Nation and Madison and Oneida counties agreed to a gaming compact to settle land-claim issues between the four parties.

Madison County receives $3.5 million each year under the agreement along with a one-time payment of $11 million.

The Oneida Nation receives exclusive gaming rights in a 10-county region and remits a portion of their slot machine earnings to the state, which then gives Oneida and Madison counties a share of those earnings.

The payments are not guaranteed by the county beyond this year, and the amount given each year is evaluated on a yearly basis.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker told the board of supervisors Dec. 19 that he had been in discussions with Senator David J. Valesky, D-Oneida, about seeking state help in the matter. Valesky, along with Assemblyman William D. Magee, D-121, Nelson, have supported the county’s efforts to be named a host county and also to receive yearly payments under the compact.

“Madison County is hosting casino gaming and should be recognized as a host county,” Valesky said. “I plan to continue my efforts to make sure that the residents of Madison County receive their fair share of being a host county and will continue to work on a long term solution.”

Madison County had sought additional money under the compact to receive compensation for use of its infrastructure by the Oneida Nation. It is the only one of eight counties in New York that hosts an Indian-owned gaming operation but does not receive host county status, officials said.

Nation-owned properties in Madison County include Chittenango’s Yellow Brick Road Casino and several convenience stores.

Point Place Casino in Bridgeport is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018.

The county’s share of the slot machine revenue is meant to pay the operating expenses for each municipality. These include fire and school districts and also sewer, water, hydrant and library costs.

The City of Oneida has lost money under the agreements, officials claim.

The losses total $4,251,899 in assessed value. The city received $139,587 in county slot machine revenue in 2017, or one-thirtieth of what they have lost, officials added.

“We want to make sure Oneida is taken care of,” Mayor Leo N. Matzke said. “We are the major city in the county and we have lost the most land under this agreement.”

Matzke said that, like the county, a multi-year deal will help the city plan their budgets in a number of areas.

The city has had to make adjustments for the lost income, and want to get the most out
of shared service agreements with Madison County, Matzke added.

“We have had to make our city assessor a part-time position. At some point, we understand the county will take over assessments for every town and village. I’m trying to improve communications with our city supervisors to find how we can both benefit from shared services,” Matzke said.

Matzke also wants to dialogue with the four supervisors to find other ways to have Oneida receive aid from land lost to the Oneidas.

“The Oneida Nation has made a payment to the county, and certain areas of our city will be made whole,” Matzke said. “But we are seeking ways to continue to supplement the income stream into the city.”

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