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updated: 10/11/2011 6:24 PM

Kane board limits casino fund grants as money declines

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  • The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin on the Fox River. Because profits at the casino are down, Kane County is getting less money for its riverboat fund. In turn, the county board is limiting the size of grants it makes, and cutting local governments off the list.

       The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin on the Fox River. Because profits at the casino are down, Kane County is getting less money for its riverboat fund. In turn, the county board is limiting the size of grants it makes, and cutting local governments off the list.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Kane County Board Tuesday changed how much and to whom it will dole out riverboat fund grants, because of a steep decline in the take from the Grand Victoria Casino.

It set a limit of $100,000 per project. And it eliminated grants for government bodies "for projects that would be typically funded from the taxing body," according to the resolution.

The board approved $5.057 million in spending from the fund, including a $1 million budget for the board to make grants to external agencies.

Of the remainder, $3.97 million will go to internal county projects, including $819,000 to repay money borrowed for the Juvenile Justice Center, $26,370 for the state's attorney's auto theft task force, $576,000 for drug court and $60,000 for human resources tuition reimbursement.

Riverboat fund grants are to be spent on projects related to education, the environment and economic development. The agreement calls for the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin to give 7.5 percent of its adjusted net operating income to Kane County.

County board member Jim Mitchell asked why the grants budget included $77,000 in administration expenses. He said that was too high to pay a person to administer the grants. Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay explained that it isn't one person -- that money reimburses the salaries of several people, in different departments, who process the grant applications and oversee compliance. Mitchell then voted in favor.

A recent report showed revenue at the Grand Victoria was down by 24 percent in August compared to August 2010. The county expects to receive only $5.5 million from the Grand Victoria next year. At its peak, the casino once put $12 million a year in the county's bank account.

In 2010, the county gave more than $500,000 in riverboat money to local governments. St. Charles received $80,000 for riverbank stabilization for the Bob Leonard Riverwalk, Maple Park got $40,000 to replace the roof on its Civic Center, Campton Township received $60,000 for Town Hall restoration, and West Dundee received $35,000 to spend on its downtown streetscape plan.

In 2011, it gave $276,700 to local governments, including $19,700 for a canoe launch in Carpentersville and $95,000 to the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

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