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Board approves gaming funds for Georgetown

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night voted to return riverboat gaming revenue to the Town of Georgetown by taking a portion away from Floyd County.
The board approved returning 1 percent of the sharing revenue to the town, as was originally agreed upon, taking 1 percent from Floyd County, meaning each entity would receive 1 percent out of the sharing pool with surrounding towns and counties.
The 1 percent amounts to $232,481 per year when the county meets its maximum, which it has not quite done the past couple years.
The county council, which will also have to sign off in the change, removed the 1 percent from Georgetown in 2004 for a number of reasons, including the idea that the town wasn’t spending the money but was, instead, sitting on it to build a new town hall.
The county also shares with Crawford County (8 percent), Washington County (2 percent) and New Albany (3 percent) and has a revenue-sharing agreement with all Harrison County towns.
The county agreed to share 18 percent of the yearly gaming revenue, which amounts to approximately $23 million when it reaches its maximum.
Georgetown Town Council member Gary Smith said earlier this month the board would use the funding to repair the retainer walls along S.R. 64, sidewalks, streets, make improvements and additions to the town’s two parks and eventually purchase a police car and upgrade police equipment.
Smith said the town receives approximately $12,000 per year from Floyd County’s riverboat portion.
The agreement, if approved by the council, will take effect July 1.
In other business, the board unanimously agreed (2-0, Commissioner Kenny Saulman was absent) to match any funds raised by the Boys & Girls Club of Harrison-Crawford Counties in the next 60 days to help with operational costs. The request will go before the county council next week.
The club, which is looking for a new facility in Harrison County (currently located at the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon), will be in its existing building through at least the summer and needs help paying for continual plumbing, electrical and HVAC issues on the old, failing building.
The site serves nearly 400 Harrison County youth during the year.
‘You’re doing something right over there,’ Commissioner George Ethridge said. ‘Helping a lot of people.’
Club board member J. Otto Schalk said, as the county’s prosecutor, he’s familiar with youth going through the criminal justice system.
‘They don’t come through the courthouse doors as defendants,’ Schalk said of Boys & Girls Club members. ‘The reality of the kids we’re serving at the Boys & Girls Club is they’re a part of the most susceptible group of the population that should come through criminal justice system, but they are not. They’re defying the odds.’
Schalk said that’s because of the great staff, including executive director Kim Grizzel, at the club.
‘Far and away, we’re responsible for the largest amount of children’s programing in the county,’ he said. ‘We make it through in large part on perseverance and elbow grease … but that alone doesn’t cover operational costs … ‘
The club receives $150,000 in riverboat gaming funds per year from the county, as has been the case since the agreement began. At that time, the club served 40 kids a day. Now, it averages 147.
‘Despite that discrepancy, it’s still the same amount of money,’ he said.
The council will hear the request on the match program during its regular meeting Monday at 7 p.m.
For more information about the club or to donate, visit www.hc-bgc.org or call 812-738-1996.

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