More gambling money follows people to county

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Greater numbers of Warren County residents counted outside the city limits of Vicksburg in the 2010 census have shifted more money from the city’s five casinos in the county’s favor — raising the chances of more road improvements in the county.

The county’s split of one of two distinct streams of revenue from casinos — and .8 percent share of Mississippi’s 8.8 percent revenue tax statewide — was $83,736.75 for the month, representing 51.09 percent of the population-based fund paid to local government from the Mississippi Department of Revenue. Payments in September totaled $76,805.97, or 46.807 percent. Fiscal years for Vicksburg and Warren County government began Oct. 1.

Prospects of an extra $80,000 a month in the county’s gaming fund compared to last fiscal year is a plus for annual paving traditionally financed by casino taxes, Board President Richard George said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It certainly all needs to go to paving,” George said of the added money’s effect on supervisors’ “paving project” based on condition ratings and daily traffic counts by county engineers.

“The more money we’ve got, the further we can get down that list,” he said.

Despite the flip, the city’s overall take from taxes on casino revenue still outpaces that of the county and the school district.

The city receives a 65 percent share of a 3.2 percent state revenue tax paid by the casinos regardless of population ensures they’ll continue to receive more revenue taxes from gaming than the county and the school district.

It totaled $436,243 in October. Total revenue to the city from the casinos hit $508,226 for the month, up 10 percent from October 2010. The county’s overall take was $253,523, up more than 25 percent for the same period.

A smaller slice of revenue for the city is significant, but couldn’t be quantified yet, Mayor Paul Winfield said.

“It does have budgetary consequences,” Winfield said. “It’s related directly to our revenue streams.”

Gaming revenues are estimated at $6.37 million in the city’s 2011-12 budget, or about 4.6 percent less than the $6.68 million for 2010-11. Traditionally, the city has spread casino revenue taxes through the general fund.

For the county, revenue from local casinos was expected to reach $2.1 million in the budget county supervisors adopted for 2011-12, or about $105,000 less than last year. Funding for five new vehicles in the sheriff’s department appeared in planned spending from gaming sources, as was $900,000 for road and bridge repairs.

Sections of Bovina Cutoff Road, Bell Bottom Road, Indian Hills Drive, Indian Hills Circle, Garden Grove Street, Whatley Road, Pecan Boulevard, Pecan Tree Lane West, Pecan Tree Drive, Oakwood Drive and Shadow Wood Drive were resurfaced this year with county funds. State subsidies based on population financed a new bridge on Redbone Road and work in progress on new bridges on Fisher Ferry Road across the Big Black River and on Bazinsky Road.