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12 May 2015 - 02:59:19 am

Bangor’s relationship with casino tested by taxes, revenue sharing — Business — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

BANGOR, Maine -- The display biz industry Casino plays a substantial role inside the town of Bangor's finances. The idea pays a lot more property taxes as compared to any other entity, as well as being a part in the city's credit card debt for that Cross Insurance Center.

This relationship might be tested, because involving the casino's Jan. 9 request for any $36.8 million reduction associated with its property value, the 2nd tax break sought through the casino since 2009.

If approved, the metropolis would repay $876,840 in the $2.6 million inside property taxes already paid through the casino for 2014.

While the particular city considers this request, in addition, it is dealing with a declining talk about in the casino's gaming revenue -- down 19.5 % more than the past 2 years. the metropolis relies on which income to aid pay the $3 million annual debt support payments for the Cross Center.

An official using Showmanship Casino said the actual gaming operation's request for a tax abatement is not a sign your casino can be struggling, yet he also acknowledged the particular economy remains soft and also competition has increased.

Nearly 130 miles away, competing Oxford Casino continues to snag more gaming income compared to Bangor gambling establishment.

"Just like all organizations throughout Maine, we possess been managing continued softness within the economy along with elevated competition, consequently we now have for you to tighten our belt and remain focused on our bottom line," Showmanship Casino General Manager Jose Flores said. "But Showmanship Casino remains healthy, also it is actually business as usual."

Flores attributed the particular abatement request primarily to the boost in assessed worth applied by the metropolis for that 2014 tax year.

The area elevated its assessment in the casino's fair industry value by simply 3.6 % inside the 2014 tax year, through $94.8 million within 2013 for you to $98.2 million.

Under state law, city Assessor Phil Drew offers until may 9 to be able to issue a published decision about the request. He additionally could disregard the request, which would bring about an automatic denial.

Drew wouldn't comment this week about the purpose for that increased valuation yet said he promises to issue any created selection instead of allowing the request die without a new response.

He is expected in order to deny the actual request, because the Area Council currently hired outside legal counsel to represent its interest inside the tax dispute.

Voting unanimously April 27, your Town Council ratified a partnership using the Kennebunkport-based Jensen, Baird, Gardner as well as Henry law firm for legal services associated for the abatement request from an estimated expense associated with $20,000 to always be able to represent your city's fascination in the tax dispute.

Drew would not comment around the particulars in the dispute, nevertheless he advised your council's Finance Committee on April 22 he was "comfortable the assessment is fair and also equitable" and also in which his workplace would "like to move towards a vigorous defense."

"My opinion would be, due in order to the value that's been invested in the Cross Center, within the new hotel, inside the waterfront, the value should have a minimum of stayed your same, or even increased," Councilor Ben Sprague mentioned in the time.

If your casino disagrees along with Drew's decision, it could appeal for the city's Board regarding Assessment Review for any hearing.

Abatement requests aren't specially unusual in Bangor, based on metropolis officials. Drew estimated that, in average, his department will get 10 to 12 formal abatement requests annually.

In its most recent request, Artist alleged the city's assessment overvalued the particular casino properties.

The casino provides engaged any U.S. branch regarding Ernst Youthful Global Ltd., the particular third largest monetary auditing firm in the world. Its services consist of tax consulting as well as advising.

Flores said the actual casino can be "relying in his or her expertise" in valuation matters.

Meanwhile, town records demonstrate that in the 2009 tax 12 months -- prior to Drew served as city assessor -- the particular area granted Showmanship Casino any $16.1 million reduction in its property valuation, cutting its estimated fair industry worth coming from $100.7 million in order to $84.6 million.

Under your tax rate in the time, which was equal to $307,101 inside property taxes abated from the city. In Which abatement request didn't go towards the appeals board.

Drew stated he cannot remark upon why former Area Assessor Ben Birch approved in which request. Your Bangor Day-to-day news provides requested a copy of the casino's request which abatement under the actual Maine's Freedom of Access Act.

Despite your abatement, The demonstrate biz industry Casino's a pair of neighborhood property holding companies, GLP Richesse LP and HC Bangor LLC, remained the very click for more first as well as the fifth highest property taxpayers in the town within fiscal 2014, shelling out any combined $2.6 million within personal and real property taxes, in accordance with area records.

That equaled 2.7 percent in the city's total budgeted earnings of $95.5 million coming from property taxes and non-tax income for your 2014 tax year, which includes income pertaining to schools and the county.

In supplement in order to property taxes, your city turns into a share of the casino's gambling revenues. in fiscal 2014, the particular casino paid the area $1.96 million in rent as well as percentages involving its gambling revenue.

That ended up being down 6.3 percent through fiscal 2013 as well as 19.5 percent via fiscal 2012, the particular highwater mark for your casino's gambling income to always be able to date and the click for info identical yr Oxford Casino opened.

The area uses those funds and revenue from the downtown tax increment finance district to be able to pay the vast majority of your $3 million annual credit card debt support for your Cross Insurance Middle Arena, which opened in 2013.

Through its annual budget process, the particular council decides how much ought to arrive from your downtown TIF and how a lot ought to result from gambling revenues.

To fund the arena's construction, that Bangor voters approved through referendum, the particular town employed $12.2 million previously received via casino operations as well as borrowed $56.5 million by means of the bond issue to spend for the total $68.7 million cost.

In fiscal 2014, gaming revenues from your casino covered about 50 % with the debt service, despite an earlier projection that they would protect regarding 75 percent of the debt support over the particular 30-year repayment period.

City Manager Cathy Conlow stated this week casino revenues were expected for you to climb 1 in order to 2 percent annually through the life span with the bonds. Instead, they've remained flat or even fluctuated slightly within latest years, she said.

"There's absolutely nothing taking place that's terribly unexpected, except that their income isn't increasing," your woman said.

According to records maintained through the Maine Gambling control Board, net gambling income at the Bangor casino features fallen 13.1 % since hitting its peak in 2012, dropping coming from $62.7 million in order to $54.4 million in 2014.

They stabilized somewhat among 2013 and also 2014, dropping a smaller $221,164, or 0.4 percent. in comparison, Oxford Casino, that opened throughout mid-2012, observed a new 1.7 percent boost in between 2013 along with 2014 using net gaming earnings totaling $72.8 million.

Those do not contain nongambling income, for example resort along with food sales.

Downtown TIF

For fiscal 2015, the city budgeted $800,000 from your downtown TIF pertaining to credit card debt support about the arena. Within the proposed 2016 budget, that is nonetheless being reviewed through the council, area officials propose dedicating $1 million from your downtown TIF with regard to financial debt services associated to the arena.

The change arrives as city officials furthermore propose diverting $255,000 inside gambling revenues far from financial debt services to become able to fund operations in the Cross center inside fiscal 2016.

In the woman's budget letter to the council, Conlow wrote which revenues at the Cross Insurance center are projected from $2.5 million pertaining to fiscal 2016, down 9 % from the $2.7 million estimate the year before.

She attributed the actual alter for the center's management, Global Spectrum, having much more time and energy to much better understand operations and also "lower than anticipated revenues inside the convention center."

"Central in order to this matter is often that the market is slow to respond to the costs which premium facilities typically command," she wrote.

City officials project total expenses in the middle will probably be $2.8 million throughout fiscal 2016, down concerning 1 % in the year before. In Which leaves any deficit of approximately $299,368, necessitating the proposed shift of gambling funds far from financial debt service.

The downtown TIF captures all income resulting through property value assessment raises since its formation inside 2006. Within fiscal 2015, in which amounted to become able to $112.4 million.

However, so as for you to mitigate property tax increases regarding Bangor residents, your Metropolis Council reduced the particular quantity captured by the downtown TIF to 65 percent inside fiscal 2015 rather than 100 % with the increased property value. Which meant an inferior $73.5 million went into the TIF within fiscal 2015.

According to the city, as regarding July 30, 2014, the Arena Fund, which include all gambling funds from the casino as well as payments for naming legal rights simply by Cross Insurance, stood a reserve of $1.05 million.

According in order to town tax records, Artist Casino's properties inside Bangor are portion of HC Bangor LLC along with GLP Money LP. HC Bangor LLC, which owns the actual casino's individual property for example gambling machines and furniture, formed inside August 2013 as part of Hollywood Casino, according to state records.

GLP Richesse LP is really a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaming as well as Leisure Properties Inc., the real-estate investment believe in formed throughout 2013 as being a corporate spinoff regarding Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming Inc.

The spinoff enabled Penn National to become able to carry on operating the particular casinos although decreasing taxes and also overcoming casino licensing restrictions by having the property investment trust just take ownership associated with approximately 1 / two of Penn National's casino properties, such as the actual Bangor casino.

As publicly traded companies, Penn National along with Gaming and also Leisure Properties file annual earnings reports with most the U.S. Securities as well as Exchange Commission. According to people reports, Penn National had a net loss attributable for you to shareholders of $233.2 million throughout 2014.

Gaming and also Leisure Properties were built together with a net income of $185.4 million exactly the same year, according to these reports.

According to an annual report through the national accounting firm RubinBrown LLP, gaming nationwide set a brand new record within 2014, generating $68.7 billion inside revenues.

However, brick-and-mortar casinos, that account for 54.6 % of all gaming revenues nationally, observed the 0.6 percent decline over the nation.

The accounting firm attributed that decline in order to elevated on-line gaming and also video lottery terminals offered inside restaurants, truck stops along with bars. Individuals devices usually tend to be not permitted inside Maine.

Maine ended up being certainly one of eight states to see an rise in commercial gaming revenues, up 0.8 percent to $127.27 million, in accordance with RubinBrown.

Follow Evan Belanger about Twitter from @evanbelanger.
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