News

Million a year expected from Chances

Maple Ridge raked in $896,000 last year from Chances Maple Ridge Community Gaming Centre.

For this year, the cash will still be split two ways, with about half going mainly to downtown-related causes, and the other  put into the infrastructure fund for roads and sidewalks.

“We’re leaving it that way, for the time being,” Mayor Ernie Daykin said Monday.

According to the 2011 gaming revenue policy, 20 per cent of the first half a millon dollars that comes from slot machines will go to improvements in the town centre, while the same amount will go to improvements in the district as a whole.

Another 15 per cent each will go to a capital improvement fund and to neighbourhood initiatives.

Another 10 per cent each goes to downtown security and downtown maintenance, while “emerging priorities” get eight per cent.

But in 2014, another $550,000 will go to the infrastructure replacement fund. That spared Maple Ridge residents a higher property tax increase this spring and will be used to boost the account that Maple Ridge set up for rebuilding roads, sewers and sidewalks.

Maple Ridge gets 10 per cent of the revenue that flows from electronic slot machines.

However, the new gaming centre, which opened in October, has 150 electronic slot machines, 50 more than the old Haney Bingo Plex on 224th Street. That has the district counting gaming centre revenues to hit at least $1,050,000 next year.

The allocations are consistent with the original policy of gaming money going only to non-recurring items. That way, if gaming cash dries up, it won’t cause a hardship or have to be replace from elsewhere in the budget.

If gaming funds did disappear it simply means some projects just don’t get done, said Daykin.

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