Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

$34 million for casino/event center infrastructure -- a record ? -- money certainly not a problem for an actual county museum

FORD COUNTY CASINO: Dodge City Could Pay an Estimated $33,340,000, Dodge City Daily Globe, Feb. 19, 2008

First, glad that money is just not an issue for CFAB/Dodge City Commission/Ford County Commission. That is obvious, since it is a fact that they didn't like this number being added up and put in a headline.

This may be a record, right up there with the "Big Dig" -- of potentially $34 million city tax dollars spending on infrastructure for a $30 million events center. How will they divide up the cost so that no tax money goes illegally to the casino? How does that work? Or is it not of interest to CFAB to stay within that law? How does a city file for bankrupt status? Should look that up.

Of interest is the failure by CFAB or the Dodge City Commission to plan ahead on the massive cost of putting the public event center by the casino -- in either location. Somehow, this planning was avoided until this week -- and the figures, as would be expected due to locations, are very, very high. $34 million dollars is the current estimate of the cost for water, sewer, roads for the far west location. And this figure doesn't seem to include a no-doubt necessary EMT/fire station for the west location. Costs would be similar for the east location, it was said.

What is sad is that the $10 million or so needed for an actual Ford County Museum with archive has been ignored as being to expensive by the same CFAB/City/County boards. It is just history -- not the 'fun' of gambling.

That makes it clear where the priorities are -- non-productive gaming wins over protecting history for the future. Perhaps the voters will keep this in mind in questions asked of the candidates for Dodge City Commission this spring.

As one that will not go into the casino (although, due to conventions, I have been in casinos in other states more than a few times -- I don't care if people want to throw their money away -- I just don't like to watch it happening, and don't consider it "entertainment"), the massive cost to Dodge City/Ford County of the casino's need for water, et al, negates the value of having the casino here -- except for those few companies and persons building it, servicing it, et al.

Seems that the cost of the infrastructure needs to carried by the for-profit casinos, not the event center. The location of the event center should be, again, reconsidered. And since the court order makes it necessary to build it before any other use of the Why Not Dodge! money, that location will mean the difference between a few million dollars and $34 million dollars for the tax payers.

Sorry to say, property taxes will be affected no matter what is being said now -- there is not enough sales tax money on-going to cover that huge cost, and build the events center -- and certainly not to get it done for an events center before the agri expo center (when did we vote on that ?) or a water park (again, was that in the vote?), as the judge requires.

Signed: Uncle George