BOMBAY — Casino-compact funds will be used to expand Bombay Town Court and improve security there.
And Fort Covington wants to use its portion of slot-machine profits from the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino on ideas included in its three-year action plan of community projects and goals.
With its share, Franklin County has typically paid itself back for money spent from the annual budget on tourism expenses, road repairs and other economic-development projects.
This year, the county plans to apply $179,480 toward budgeted tourism expenses plus another $40,000 in additional tourism-related promotions.
In a 2004 agreement with the state, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the governments of Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, the Indian-gaming operation at Akwesasne would share a portion of its slot-machine money with them in exchange for permission to run the casino with exclusive rights in eight area counties.
The counties receive 25 percent of the profits in perpetuity and share half with the towns impacted most by the casino — Bombay and Fort Covington in Franklin County and Massena and Brasher in St. Lawrence County.
All must submit plans for use of the money to Empire State Development officials.
Akwesasne Mohawks discontinued payments in late 2010, claiming the state violated exclusivity by allowing gaming machines at the Ganienkeh Mohawk territory in Altona in Clinton County.
Exclusivity applies to Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Warren and Hamilton counties.
HELD IN ESCROW
About $60 million in compact funds were held in escrow until last spring, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new agreement with the Mohawks, who restarted the quarterly payments and immediately released $3.75 million from escrow to each county.
Another check is expected before the end of the year, and reports on how each entity plans to spend its money are going to Empire State Development for approval.
In its cover letter, the Bombay Town Council said it would use its $88,241 share to remodel and expand the part of the Town Hall that houses Town Court, allowing for more space for record retention and to increase security.
Bombay Town Justice Terrance Durant said he and Justice C. Curtis Smith asked for more space “to provide easier access to pay fines in a separate room.
“The Town Board has final authority on it,” he said of the changes, adding that the room is needed now because the court caseload has increased the past few years.
Court is held every Tuesday in Bombay, and according to the Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, the criminal caseload there is the largest of any community he oversees.
He said in 2011-12, Bombay made up 22 percent of his office’s caseload, beating out the much larger Town of Malone, which represented 20 percent of the work.
“Between Bombay and Malone, they have over 40 percent of the county caseload,” he said. “The next closest is the Village of Tupper Lake with 9 percent.”
A portion of Fort Covington’s three-year action plan includes development of a farmers market on Route 37.
“Due to the closing of two supermarkets in the area, with the closest grocery shopping over 16 miles away, the farmers market would be an asset to the residents, travelers and local farmers,” the town’s submission letter states.
“A farmers market would bring economic development to the town.”
The open-air market would be ready for the summer of 2014 at the corner of Route 37 and Salmon Street.
The site would include a multi-purpose pavilion, open space for picnicking with a view along the Salmon River and a future site for a possible small-craft boat launch.
An existing volleyball court could be removed to expand nearby playing fields, and sidewalks would be improved to allow for increased and safer pedestrian traffic at the farmers market and community park.
Email Denise A. Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org