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Tribe to distribute nearly $2 million

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ATHENS TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (nhbpi.com/) recently announced its first payment to the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board would be almost $2 million. A check was presented Feb. 12.

These funds represent 2 percent of the “net win” or gross revenues from electronic gaming devices (slot machines) at the tribe’s FireKeepers Casino, located in Battle Creek, for the five-month period ending Dec. 31, 2009. FireKeepers Casino opened in August 2009.

“Our tribe is proud to be able to provide these funds from our casino with our governmental partners in the local communities,” said Laura W. Spurr, NHBP tribal chair. “With the reduction of state local revenue sharing to local governments, these funds will certainly be needed and put to good use. The tribe’s FireKeepers Casino enterprise is successful because we have enjoyed a great partnership with the local communities.”

Under the tribe’s Class III Gaming Compact with the State of Michigan, the NHBP has agreed to provide an annual 2 percent payment to the local revenue sharing board. The LRSB is expected to distribute the funds in the next coming months.

“I’m confident that the local board will work together to establish the process for a fair distribution of revenues that will maximize the benefits that these funds can provide,” said Jamie Stuck, NHBP treasurer and tribal representative on the revenue sharing board. “The tribe’s goal is to assure that the criteria or formulas for allocating the revenues will be consistent with the mandates and priorities set out in the compact and best serve the community needs.”

The units of government serving on the local revenue sharing board are the tribe, Calhoun County, Emmett Township, City of Battle Creek, City of Marshall and Athens Township.

In addition to the payment to the local revenue sharing board, the tribe will also make a payment to the state of Michigan for $3.8 million, which will represent a fixed 4 percent of the electronic gaming profit in 2009. These funds will go to the Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund, which is a component of the 21st Century Jobs Initiative. Investments have been made in the program to encourage venture capital investment in Michigan and to fund the Small Business Capital Access Program and loan enhancement.

The tribe has more than 1,100 members, with 650 of them living in the service area. NHBP’s seven county service area covers Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ottawa counties.