Town expects quick ruling on contempt motion
Prospects for the Town of Tunica and the Tunica County School District to begin receiving gaming tax revenues again improved at a hearing yesterday in Tunica. Special judge Henry Lackey promised to make a quick ruling on a motion by the town to hold Tunica County in contempt of court.
The county was ordered on July 28, 2015 to “immediately resume compliance with House Bill 1002, which includes making all payments due to the Town and the School District as and when the county receives the monthly gaming revenue collections.”
In that order Judge Lackey had also denied a county motion for preliminary injunction but granted the town’s injunctive motion.
Judge Lackey opened Tuesday’s session with a recap of the case:
“This arises out of a matter where the Legislature passed an act [Editor’s note: House Bill 1022] whereby a certain percentage of gambling proceeds would go to the county,” Lackey explained, “and the town got a percentage and the Tunica County School District got a percentage also.
“The parties complied with this act approximately 20 years, but now the county supervisors have decided the act is unconstitutional, and they are withholding funds due to the town and the school district.”
Lackey continued, “In a prior hearing, the Board of Supervisors president testified about the funds due to the town and schools (being) in a special fund, so I have asked the Chancery Clerk (to attend) so the Court might be certain the funds have been set aside and will be properly held until the Supreme Court or the court of last resort determines those funds are the town’s and the school board’s.
TA announces Royal Court for 2015
Queen LeEllen Perry (front, center) and her royal court invite the community to the presentation of the Tunica Academy Homecoming Court at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25.
County budget highlights revenue priorities
Citizens and supervisors at last got a look at a paper copy of the county’s proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget, when Deputy Chancery Clerk Luevenia Byrd and county administrator Michael Thompson handed out packets at the September 15 Board of Supervisors meeting.
The new budget projects total revenue of $33.69 million. About 30 percent of that total, or $10.36 million, will come from taxes on property owners. The total from taxes includes $3.3 million for debt service and $3.9 million for general government. The balance of tax revenue goes to special funds such as road maintenance, E911, homeland security, and fire protection.
The county is projecting that it will receive gaming taxes in the coming year totaling $18.9 million, or approximately 55 percent of total projected revenue. About 88 percent of revenues go into the general fund.
The FY16 budget includes a projected cash balance, or carry-over from the current year, of $800,000 in the general fund and about $2 million overall, bringing total projected revenues for FY16 up to $35.75 million.
Canon honored for service to state
The Mississippi Gaming Commission honored retiring member and chairman Nolen Canon of Tunica last Wednesday with a reception and dinner at Gold Strike Casino.
Canon’s 11 years of service on the Commission are ending September 30. Since his appointment in 2004, Canon and his fellow Commissioners presided over the challenges of Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, and the Mississippi River flood of 2011, all of which had profound impacts on gaming and tourism in the state.
In his remarks, Canon reminisced about those challenges.
“When you see a casino on the wrong side of the street, you know things are bad,” he said. “It is a testament to the industry that they rebuilt.”
Canon offered a blanket thank you to the more than 100 friends, colleagues and family members who attended, singling out his wife Toni for her support.
Canon “exemplifies legacy and stewardship,” commented Jerry St. Pe, who was appointed in the same year. St. Pe said Canon had been the “leveling force” on the Commission, helping him and the third member, John Hairston, find the best solutions to challenges. St. Pe and Hairston presented Canon with a fitting gift, a model tractor with 11 casino chips on the front as tractor weights, one chip for each year of his service.
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