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April 28, 2017
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Graton Tribe makes good on payments

By: Dave Williams
April 7, 2017
Rohnert Park orders new fire ladder truck, other vehicles with money from tribe through MOU

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria is meeting its financial obligations per a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Rohnert Park.

The MOU (Graton Mitigation Program) was created to mitigate the impact of the casino’s presence adjacent to Rohnert Park. 

For Fiscal Year 2016-17, the casino’s non-recurring contributions budget anticipated a sum of $3.075 million, which was to be directed toward the development and construction of the new Westside Public Safety Building and the purchase of a ladder truck to be stationed at the building.

Rohnert Park’s City Council at its meeting on March 28 received an updated report on the tribes payments to the city. City staff announced at the last Rohnert Park City Council meeting that by midyear, 84 percent of the money had been paid to the city and that the tribe recently made the final payment scheduled in the non-recurring budget. 

Rohnert Park has since placed the order for the fire ladder truck, which is expected to be delivered by July. Also, three vehicles – one car for the COPS unit and two interceptors for the new beat patrol officers have been purchased. 

Earlier this year, the council approved the allocation of the fund balance for the Westside Station to move forward with the planning, contracting and construction of the station, which is expected to open in November 2018.

“It points out to the citizens of Rohnert Park that in fact the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria are honoring their part of agreement between city and the tribe,” Mayor Jake Mackenzie said. “They’re tribal lands to the west of us. They’re a sovereign nation. We have found them to be good partners and we have an ongoing relationship with them. They honored their commitments to us.”

The Graton Mitigation Program is allocated in three program budgets: Casino Mitigation non-recurring contributions, which consist of set amounts and timing of payments which end after a determined amount is paid to Rohnert Park; Casino Mitigation Recurring Contributions, which consist of quarterly subsidies paid to the city; and Casino Mitigation Wilfred JEPA, which consists of an annual contribution paid to the Rohnert Park. 

The Recurring Contributions budget is comprised of five funds: Law Enforcement, Problem Gambling, Waterway, Public Services, and Supplemental recurring contributions. The Fiscal Year 2016-17 Casino Recurring Contributions budget anticipates $8,048,947 of revenue.

By midyear, $4,123,546 (51.2 percent) had been received. Expenditures for the same period total $947,078 (11.1 percent of annual budget). The majority of these expenditures, according to city staff include: $741,061 in salaries and benefits; $154,580 in operating expenses; and $34,220 in contractual and legal services. 

The Casino Mitigation Wilfred JEPA budget expects an annual contribution of $311,073 for maintenance of the Wilfred Avenue and Business Park Drive area near the casino. 

No contributions have been made by the end of the midyear term, as the annual payment is collected at the end of the fiscal year. The casino is in its third year of operation.