FORT WASHINGTON – The county has revised projected MGM National Harbor casino revenues to be lower than first expected. The Prince George’s County Local Development Council (LDC) met on July 19 for its monthly meeting and received an updated local impact grants spending plan proposal from the county executive’s office. The proposal, which must be […]
FORT WASHINGTON – The county has revised projected MGM National Harbor casino revenues to be lower than first expected.
The Prince George’s County Local Development Council (LDC) met on July 19 for its monthly meeting and received an updated local impact grants spending plan proposal from the county executive’s office. The proposal, which must be approved by the LDC, spells out how the county executive intends to spend $4.26 million in MGM video lottery terminal (VLT) revenues – a decrease of about $615,000 from the plan presented to the LDC in April.
Amber Hendricks, deputy director of the office of management and budget, said the revision is due to changes in projected revenues.
“We had only received two distributions of VLT revenues at that particular time (April),” she said. “When the budget was going through the process in May, we made an adjustment to the VLT revenue collection estimates at that point in time by reducing them by a little over $1 million based on the performance of the casino in addition to the impact of the hold harmless provision.”
In spite of the decreased revenue, the majority of the spending plan remains the same as originally presented. However, the public safety categories do reflect reduced expenditures. In the police category, the allocation has gone down about $307,000 to $345,700, enough to pay for four officers at the District VII station. The fire department’s allocation was also reduced, from $497,000 to $190,100, which funds just two fire fighters. However, Hendricks stressed that staffing and service levels at the stations would not change; the county has allocated money from other revenue sources to maintain current staffing levels.
“The source of funding to support those officers has just changed. You will continue to have the same level of service at those stations,” she said. “We basically made changes to services that the county, at least revenue changes, to the services the county provides.”
Unchanged in the proposed spending plan is a $500,000 allocation to the LDC itself for grants to community groups, $2.42 million for education projects, $150,000 for scholarships for high school students, and $337,700 for the county Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for workforce development efforts.
Several LDC members said they were concerned about the school system and EDC in particular spending the money as it is intended, and wanted to know what type of reporting measures are being put in place so the LDC can monitor the expenditures.
“My conundrum is that, all of us, from the county exec. right on down, including the county council, want to demonstrate to the community and constituents that we are being good stewards of the funds,” said LDC Vice Chair Zeno St. Cyr. “At the end of the day, we should be able to point to school ‘X’ that has done this type of technology upgrade in this school. We should be able to say that 100, 200, whatever, folks living in the three-mile radius of the LDC participated in the workforce training program.”
Hendricks said county law builds in annual reporting for the school system’s share of the funds, while the EDC will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that should include a similar mechanism.
“The EDC dollars, they will have to have new contract or memorandum of understanding with the county in order for them to receive these funds. Of course, in the agreement, we would have some kind of performance benchmarks,” she said.
LDC member Manervia Riddick said the body itself should make sure it is being responsible and acting promptly with its share of VLT funds. The program priorities and budget committee is still working through the applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 grant money, with FY18 money available as of July 1.
“The remaining $500,000, we’ve got to get started on like yesterday,” she said.