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By Dylan Savela
On Thursday, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians presented a check to the Manistee County Local Sharing Revenue Board for $878,424 Pictured (from left to right) are Barry McGrady (Director of Gaming Operations), Charmaine Stone (Director of Hotel Operations), Dennis Bjorkquist (LRSB), Roger Zielinski (LRSB) and Virgil Johnson (Tribal Council Speaker). (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)
MANISTEE — The Manistee Local Revenue Sharing Board distributed nearly $160,000 in grants to various governmental bodies in the county at its Cycle II grant awards meeting Monday at the Manistee Township Hall.
The board also approved its PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) obligations Monday night, to the tune of $1,149,530.11.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t cover all of them,” said board chair and Manistee Township supervisor Dennis Bjorkquist of the 28 grant applications, totaling $477,933.79. “I’m not apologizing for it, but it seems like this round was more difficult than most.”
The revenue sharing board receives 2 percent of electronic gaming profits from the Little River Casino Resort. The board is required to distribute nearly 12 percent of that amount through public safety grants, meet its payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) obligations and then award additional public safety or other lawful local government purpose grants if desired.
The board is made up of representatives from Manistee County (commissioner Ken Hilliard), the City of Manistee (mayor pro-tem Roger Zielinski) and Manistee Township (Bjorkquist).
The board accepted 11 of the 26 local public safety applications, eight of which received the full funding requested.
The following public safety grants were awarded in full:
The board awarded partial funding to a trio of larger public safety requests. Those grants are as follows:
Additionally, the board awarded one of two other lawful local government purpose grant applications. Brown Township’s request for $10,000 to upgrade the Brown Township Hall was approved.
After grants were awarded, the board approved its PILT obligations.
PILT funds go to local government entities as compensation for the taxes they would receive if Little River Casino Resort were not a Class III gaming facility.
The receiving entities are:
On Thursday, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians presented a check to the Manistee County Local Sharing Revenue Board for $878,424 — the second of two payments in 2016 — which brings the total amount of local revenue sharing payments to $32,147,224 since the casino opened in 1999.
Under the gaming compact and amendment between the tribe and the State of Michigan, the tribe mutually agreed to make annual distributions to the board.
Tribal Council speaker Virgil Johnson and the director of hotel operations Charmaine Stone presented the check to revenue sharing board representatives at the Little River Casino Resort.
“Tribal gaming continues to provide a positive economic impact to both the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and our local community,” said Tribal Ogema Larry Romanelli. “We are pleased to see how the revenues benefit both our tribe and our neighbors.”
Story originally published in the Manistee News Advocate.