St. Charles Plans for 'Significant' Decline in Gaming Revenue Due to Bridge Construction
Gaming revenue and sales tax are both expected to be lower in November and December and in 2013. Mayor proposes $124.5 million budget for 2013.
St. Charles is expecting to see a significant decline in revenue from Ameristar Casino due to construction on the westbound lanes of the Blanchette Bridge.
The westbound span of the Blanchette Bridge is expected to close Nov. 2 and westbound traffic will be diverted to the other half of the bridge.
City officials have anticipated motorists may have confusion over the best way to get to St. Charles which may lead to reduction in gaming revenue and sales tax funds.
"We anticipate seeing significant decline," Director of Finance Kelly Vaughn said. "This is going to be as a result of the bridge construction that we're bracing for."
Gaming funds will make up 10 percent of the expected revenue for the city in 2013. The city receives $1 per admission to Ameristar Casino and 2 percent of the adjusted gross revenue of the casino.
In 2012, the city expects to receive $12.9 million in gaming funds. That number is expected to drop in 2013 to $11 million.
Despite the expected decline in gaming funds, Mayor Sally Faith and the administration proposed a balanced general fund budget for 2013 and an overall budget of $124.5 million during Tuesday's work session.
The reduction in gaming revenue means the city may spend less on capital improvement projects next year. The proposed budget includes an $18.9 million reduction in CIP money.
The city will have to rely more heavily on gaming money next year for the general fund, which pays for police, fire and administration budgets, with 76 percent of gaming revenue going to the general fund.
In addition, St. Charles plans to continue a hiring freeze and will seek to restructure departments to fill current openings.
All departments have cut back, said Faith.
The council must approve a budget by the end of 2012. Another budget workshop is planned for Nov. 13.
"It's very important that we look at the best use of available funds," she said.