September 30, 2014

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Letters to the Editor
Reduce class size PDF Print E-mail
Written by thillman   
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:26 AM

Editor,

I am writing to advocate for a reduction in the size of our classrooms. My husband and I together have 60 years of teaching experience. We learned early on that class size DOES make a huge difference. Now, there are a number of studies that prove a reduced class size improves not only test scores, but also long term student achievement; both academically and social.

According to the Brookings institute, reducing class size by 7 students is (conservatively) the equivalent to about 9 months of additional schooling over a 12 year school career. This is the same as providing 13 years of education in 12 years. This is an extremely productive way to spend tax payer money.

Reducing class size in our state would also have a profound impact on many of our states social problems, from issues of crime and drugs to teen pregnancy and poverty. It is a well documented fact that improving education addresses our social problems. If you want to see fewer abortions improve education. If you want to see Indiana no longer at the top of the rape statistics, improve education. If you want to reduce the cost of prisons (over $600Million annually) improve education. If you want fewer people on government assistance, improve education. If you want to improve education, we do not need new standards simply reduce class size.

Every appropriation our state makes should come down to a simple choice: What will do the greatest good and provide the greatest return on the tax payer investment. According to experts reducing class size will improve our kids education and improve Indiana.

We have a moral obligation to prepare our children for the future and grant them the same opportunity at the American dream we had. Reducing class size will do that. I call on you to educate yourself and Vote for candidates that will do what is right.

Pam McClure

 
Judge the value of having the casino PDF Print E-mail
Written by thillman   
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:23 AM

Editor,

I recently read the letter of Dillon R. Dorrell to the editor in the September 18,2014 edition of the Ohio County News. Mr. Dorrell is upset at the proposal of Rising Star Casino to become a completely land based casino. As Mr. Dorrell stated, this would involve the loss of $12,759,600 in assessed valuation due to the lack of the need for the present gaming boat. This act would also cause the loss of $162,672 in property tax revenues.

He does state that the proceeds to the casino were reduced to $5,698,761 in August, 2013 and to $4,447,019 in August, 2014. He fails to mention that Rising Star now has greatly increased competition from the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati, The Belterra Park Raceway and Racino in Anderson Township, Miami Valley Gaming Racino near Monroe, Ohio, and Hollywood Racino Dayton, Ohio. Prior to the operation of the casinos in Ohio, total receipts at Rising Star were much, much more. Rising Star Casino in now simply downsizing in an effort to keep the casino operating in a sound and profitable manner.

Mr. Dorrell fails to mention that there are factors other than property tax revenues involved. We need to look at what the community of Rising Sun and Ohio County would lose if the casino wasn't here. The City of Rising Sun in 2013 received a total of $5,882,873.81 from wagering taxes, admission taxes and supplemental receipts during 2013, and received a total of $3,206,366.42 from wagering taxes, admission taxes and supplemental receipts during the months of January thru July of 2014. Ohio County received $3,226,189.32 from wagering taxes, admission taxes and supplemental receipts during 2013, and received $2,367,069.17 from wagering taxes, admission taxes and supplemental receipts during January thru July of 2014. As Is shown heretofore, Rising Sun and Ohio County have a lot Involved other than property tax receipts. In addition, the many Jobs at the casino and income taxes paid by the casino and Its employees for Ohio County are involved.

In the past, Ohio County has constructed an addition to the courthouse, a highway garage, and has repaved many roads in Ohio County which were in a state of disrepair as well as other improvements from riverboat funds. Ohio County and the City of Rising Sun have jointly constructed an emergency services building and a library from riverboat funds. The city of Rising Sun has constructed a new city hall, a sewage treatment facility, a city park, a swimming pool as well as other items from riverboat funds. The city purchased the building which contains the police department from riverboat funds, and used riverboat funds as seed money for grants from which our medical center and the senior citizen community building on Mulberry St. were constructed. I no doubt have overlooked other activities financed from riverboat funds.

I was Ohio County attorney in the late 1970's and the early 1980's. Ohio County at that time was in such low financial straits that the county purchased used former state police cars at auction from the State of Indiana for patrol cars for the sheriffs office. There are similar matters that can be cited. Ohio County due to casino revenues no longer has to penny pinch and is able to provide services on a par with other communities.

Mr. Dorrell also mentioned that the casino at Evansville intended to build another structure worth $100,000,000. There Is a big difference between a community of more than 100,000 and a community of 2,300 people like Rising Sun. Due to their situation Evansville casino will need to build a new building to become land based.

1 think that this community needs to review the need for co-operation with Rising Star rather than obstruction. We have a lot more to lose than $162,672 in property tax revenue annually by obstructing Rising Star Casino in efforts to maintain the profitability and viability of the casino. While the funds now being received by the City of Rising Sun and Ohio County are a great deal less than formerly received, the funds are still considerable and are of great value to the community.

John D. Mitchell

 
Rescuers say thanks PDF Print E-mail
Written by thillman   
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:22 AM

Editor,

Ohio County Rescue Services Inc. would like to thank the following Organizations, Business, Churches, Clubs and, Individuals who donated Items and desserts. Also a thank you to the businesses that displayed our Chicken Barbeque flyers in their establishments. Along with all squad members, Fire department members, High School kids and individuals that helped at the 2014 Chicken barbeque.

We greatly appreciate all the work everyone did to make this years chicken barbeque a great event.

The following is a list of organizations and businesses that donated items and time to make this years chicken barbeque a success.

They are: First Baptist Church of Rising Sun, Shiloh Baptist Church, Bethel Unity Baptist Church, Holmes Hill Church of Christ, Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ, Rising Sun Church of Christ, Rising Sun Church of Nazarene, First Church of Christ, Rising Sun United Methodist Church, Salem Hilltopers, Happy Homemakers, Windstormers, Extension Homemakers, Phi Beta Phi Sorority, Red Hat Society, The Waters of Rising Sun and High School Kids earning community service hours.

If we have neglected to mention any organization or individual here who donated items or time we apologize. We greatly appreciate the donations of desserts, water, items and individuals time and effort.

We wish to thank everyone who came out and purchased chicken and supported the life squad. We take great pride in serving our community. It is always a great pleasure to see everyone in the community who comes to our annual chicken barbeque.

 Ohio County

Rescue Services Inc.

 
Landbase Casino Legislation would be costly for county PDF Print E-mail
Written by thillman   
Thursday, September 18, 2014 9:17 AM

 Editor,

In June of 2104, the Rising Star Casino made a presentation to the City and County Council, four of our local State Legislators, the Aurora Mayor and Attorney, and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation Directors. The purpose of their presentation was to gain support to have new gaming legislation that would move their slots and table games from the boat to their existing pavilion. Proposed Landbase Gaming would eliminate the riverboat in Ohio County.

They stated that if this would be permitted, it would reduce their operating cost by a significant amount. Moving gaming operation from their boat to land would require new gaming legislation to be approved by both Houses of the General Assembly and the Governor. We understand their reasoning and have supported them in most of their efforts to reduce their operating cost. However, if their gaming operations are moved to a Landbase operation, it would eliminate the property tax that benefits the city, county and school. The Rising Star Casino’s boat would no longer be used and most likely would be sold for scrap value.

Shown below is an estimate of our taxpayer’s loss based on the boat’s assessed value in 2013 pay 2014 taxes. Their change to a Land Base operation could potentially result in a loss of property tax revenues of $162,672.

Property Tax Revenue Losses per Local Government Units are as follows:

Rising Star Boat Assessed Value $12,759,600

Tax Rates: Loss in Tax Revenues

County .3996 ($50,759)

Township .0100 ($1,175)

School .4387 ($55,976)

City: .3728 ($47,567)

Library .0408 ($5,218)

Special District .0129 ($1645)

Total Tax Rate 1.2749 ($162,672)

Those in attendance of the Casino’s presentation from the city and county agree that there should be requirements made for the casino to make investments in new capital improvements and/or additions with any Landbase operation. We have spoken with several of our school personnel, business and community leaders, taxpayers and neighbors on this issue. Everyone who we have spoken with supports our request for a commitment from the casino to invest in capital improvements (buildings, facilities, & other structures) as a condition for them to move to landbase operations.

All of Rising Star’s local casino competitors have made large capital expenditures including new additions, remodeling, and expansion. Rising Star has spent money only for ongoing operational and typical maintenance requirements. A new three story hotel was built for them and opened in late 2013 with funds from Rising Sun First Inc. Rising Star Casino has a lease purchase and managing agreement with Rising Sun First for the hotel operations. Rising Star Casino did not invest any of their money in the hotel project in land or construction. Typical maintenance and operational expenses are not capital investments. Those expenses are the cost of doing business. A commitment to invest is anticipated and should be required.

By contrast, we are told that the Evansville Casino is willing to invest up to $100,000,000 on land base projects for their new casino if allowed to go land base. Why would it not be expected for the Rising Star Casino to do the same for Rising Sun and Ohio County?

In summary, moving their slots and table games to an “old” pavilion without capital investment or nothing else added will not solve their declining admissions and revenue situation. Rising Star Casino should be required to make a capital investment of at least an equal amount that that would result in our loss of property tax revenue caused by them moving to landbase.

Dill Dorrell

County & City Taxpayer

Business and Residential Property Owner

Member of Ohio County Council

 

Source: Indiana Gaming Commission

Comparison August 2014 with year ago month August 2013

Admission August 2013 82,555 Casino Win 2013 $5,698,761

August 2014 67,364 Casino Win 2014 $4,447,019

Loss (15,191) -18% Loss ($1,251,742) - 22%

Note: August 2013 No new hotel

August 2014 New 100 room hotel

 
Thanks for support, many good years PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Bovard   
Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:54 PM

Editor:
I would like to express my humble appreciation and gratitude to my friends, family, and members of the community who have extended their support and opened their hearts to me over these past several months. There are too many to mention, but you know who you are.
Life can deal us difficult times, and for me, this has been one of those difficult times.
Your kind words, donations and friendships have been what have ultimately kept me going.
The past 17-plus years working with the City of Rising Sun were good years, and years I will remember. I am confident that the future will hold promising times and am excited to see what the future holds for me.
I owe you all a great deal of gratitude and I thank you all.

Tim Bovard

 
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