Rossford collects cash from casino
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:41
ROSSFORD - Officials from Penn National Gaming, developers of the Hollywood Casino Toledo, delivered on their promise of a $200,000 grant to the city to help offset public safety costs.
The casino is in Toledo, but just over the Rossford city line. The promise of the money was made last year. On Monday officials came to the city council meeting and delivered the actual check.
The city has already spent $70,000 of the money establishing a canine patrol.
Casino officials including Tim Wilmott, Penn's president and chief operating officer, and Richard St. Jean, the casino's general manager, got a chance to meet the dog, visit with the patrolmen who handle him and see the SUV used to transport the canine.
Also on hand was former Mayor Bill Verbosky, who negotiated the deal with Penn National. Those talks were hush hush, and started before voters had approved the constitutional amendment that allowed for the opening for four casinos in the state.
They also came at a time, when Verbosky's administration was taking heat for not being aggressive enough in dealing with Toledo and the casino.
Verbosky said the $200,000 check vindicated his approach. The casino owners "promised if they came in they would be good neighbors, and that's proven to be the case."
He added: "Everything we looked for and hoped for has taken place. "We're glad they are here."
City Council President Larry Oberdorf said Verbosky kept him informed throughout the talks.
He noted that none of the problems, increased crime and traffic, people were concerned about have come to pass.
Instead, Mayor Neil MacKinnon said Hollywood employees have been active in the community.
The company's participation in the Rossford Business Association "has been phenomenal," he said, noting "top officials" are involved.
Wilmott said the donation was intended to support the city's public safety efforts.
MacKinnon said that the money would go toward training and equipment and would not simply offset the cost of fire and police protection.
Also at Monday's city council, meeting, the 2013 budget was introduced.
City Administrator Ed Ciecka said it was flat in terms of spending and revenue. The budget calls for general fund spending of $4,864,734, up from $4,733,868 this year.
The city is expecting reductions in state local government aid as well as losses because of the county-wide reappraisal. It does anticipate an increase in income taxes.
Some additional money will be appropriated for roadwork and the city is planning to hire an assistant for the director of the Recreation Department.
Council also approved three-year extensions of the contracts of Ivan Kovacevic and Police Chief Glenn Goss. Both had been appointed for one year after MacKinnon's election.
Councilman Chuck Duricek said that he wanted Goss to address overtime costs in his department, though he said there appears to be progress being made.