City, Rivers Casino agree to $10 million payment
Mayor William Peduto’s administration and Rivers Casino officials have reached agreement on paying the city $10 million in 2017 to replace casino revenues rejected by the state Supreme Court this year.
The parties reached agreement this week, and the agreement was tentatively approved by City Council last week. A final Council vote is set for December 29.
“I want to thank Rivers Casino for their commitment to the city,” Mayor Peduto said. “The next step is working with legislators in Harrisburg to find a long term solution to this funding gap, which is impacting cities and counties throughout the Commonwealth.”
The state Supreme Court in September rejected local share taxes that host municipalities have been collecting from casinos, saying the taxes violated uniformity clauses in the state Constitution. The city has been negotiating with Rivers Casino since October on replacing the tax revenue, which was set at $10 million annually.
“We’ve worked collaboratively with City officials to ensure that $10 million in annual local share payments from Rivers Casino to Pittsburgh will continue uninterrupted through 2017,” said Craig Clark, Rivers Casino general manager. “We’re proud to support our hometown.”
Without the $10 million in funding the city would have faced cutting: The two police and one firefighter recruit classes planned for 2017; 20 emergency medical technician hires; 40 positions in Parks & Recreation; and, 25 percent of the Department of Public Works Operations staff.
Previously, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority held off on finally approving the city’s 2017 budget, due to the lack of gaming funds. The ICA is expected to hold a special meeting to approve the budget once the funding is secured.