County inks $19 million racino development deal

Warren commissioner says deal needed after Kasich decision.

Warren County commissioners signed a series of agreements Tuesday to split more than $19 million set aside for development of the Miami Valley Gaming racino area or donated by the racino operator toward redevelopment of the Warren County Fairgrounds.

The commissioners were the final set of elected officials to sign a two-inch thick set of agreements resulting from negotiations sparked by Gov. John Kasich allowing a racino to be opened in Dayton, according to Commissioner Dave Young.

“I want the public to understand what all went into this,” Young said, as lawyer Caleb Bell explained the agreements.

The agreements resulted from negotiations begun after the racino operators sought public assistance after Kasich permitted the opening of racinos — including one in Dayton — by moving racetracks from other cities, Young said.

Over the next 10 years, Warren County and the racino will divvy up an estimated $16 million in tax incremental financing — 75 percent of property taxes collected on the racino complex, valued at $75 million in 2014. The Lebanon school district and other local taxing entities will split the other 25 percent, estimated at about $5 million over the 10 years.

The racino is expected to use its $12 million to offset infrastructure costs. Warren County is expected to use $4 million to straighten and improve Union Road, which runs north-south past the racino. The county gets first dibs, according to the agreement.

The county port authority also holds title to the racino complex, saving operators as much as $3 million in sales tax on construction materials. Miami Valley Gaming paid $800,000 in closing costs and will pay $1,000 a month to lease the complex for 10 years.

The racino agreed to donate $200,000 a month through October, then $500,000 a year in 2015-2018, toward redeveloping the fairgrounds in Lebanon.

A special taxing district is also part of the development agreement. Officials in Monroe and Turtlecreek Twp. still have to approve a joint economic development district on the racino site. Next year, the district is to raise $670,000 a year — from income tax on the racino's employees or its net profits — to subsidize costs to the city and township, Bell said.

Tuesday's signing capped more than three months of work since terms of the agreement were reached.

“It’s an exciting day. We have documents to sign,” Commissioner Pat South said.

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