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Osceola Reverses Decision on Casino Contributions

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OSCEOLA, Iowa -- The Osceola City Council is reversing a decision about what to do with some of the money it gets from Lakeside Casino.

"The people of Osceola were saying 'no, we don`t want you to do this.' The people of Osceola said 'no, we`re looking out for the people of Murray and the people of Woodburn.' Even though this would be revenue that they could use, they said 'no, it`s the right thing. It`s the right thing to keep it going,'" said At-Large City Council Member, Dr. George Fotiadis.

Fotiadis is the same City Council Member who made the original motion to phase out the casino contributions Osceola makes to Murray and Woodburn, but he changed his mind after the backlash from the community.

For nearly two decades, Osceola shared certain casino revenues with the towns, but last month, council members agreed to end payments. During a special meeting on Tuesday night, those payments were restored. "There were a lot of entities and stakeholders that we work with within Osceola itself, the local economic development corporation, some of the area businesses, that of course serve the region, and they were concerned about the impact to the cities and of course Woodburn and Murray themselves expressed quite a bit of opposition to the change," said Ty Wheeler, City Administrator for the City of Osceola, in explaining the decision reversal. Osceola usually budgets about $38,000 for its contribution to Murray and $18,000 for its contribution to Woodburn. Those amounts are based on percentages and can fluctuate from year to year.