September 16, 2014

Tribe doles out more than $700k at two-percent distribution

Tim Barnum
Sims Township Supervisor Rodney Francis signs off on the township's $8,600 allocation.
Tim Barnum
Arenac County Board of Commissioners Chairman Raymond Daniels thanks Tribal Council after receiving a check on behalf of the county.
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STANDISH TOWNSHIP — The Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe allocated $710,353 and change during its 2-percent class-3 gaming revenue distribution on Thursday.

Of the total sum distributed, $510,353.81 went to units of government and $200,000 was handed over to schools in the area.

Government distribution

When it came to the municipal allocations, Pinconning Township Supervisor Sharon Stalsburg walked away with the most generous check, leaving the Saganing Tribal Center $108,600 to extend the township’s water lines to the Bay-Arenac county line.

Arenac County’s government was injected with $81,618.81 that Board Chairman Raymond Daniels said would be split up between Housing Commission funding, a building renovation at the Arenac County Fairgrounds, the county parks and the development of a master plan.

Recently-retired Housing Commission Director Ruth Harrison was called forward by Daniels at the allocation and said approximately $50,000 of the county’s disbursement would be put to use by the housing department for installing handicap ramps and weather-proofing houses.

“What you have done will help the least of God’s children,” Harrison said to the members of Tribal Council in attendance.

AuGres City Manager Pat Killingbeck said $25,500 granted to the city would be used for improved police protection in the city, while newly-elected Standish Mayor Mark Winslow said $54,000 allocated to Standish would be used to buy a salt truck for the Standish Department of Public Works.

“We’ll have safe streets this winter,” Winslow said.

As for Omer, Mayor Alice Sproule became emotional when she accepted a check for $57,000 written out to the city, which she said would be used to make purchases for the city’s library.

“As an former educator … I know how expensive books are,” she said.

The city of Pinconning also received a healthy fund injection from the Tribe, as city manager Richard Byrne was awarded with a check for $52,734. He said $50,000 of the check is for upgrades to the city's main water tower, with the remaining funds earmarked for the city police department.

As for townships in Arenac County, six townships — AuGres, Deep River, Lincoln, Mason, Sims and Whitney — all received an $8,600 general fund allocation courtesy of the 2-percent funds. Other townships were also awarded with the base grants, but received additional monies for specific projects on top of the general fund allotment.

Turner Township Clerk Patricia Brooks said the $26,600 grant received included about $18,000 set aside for graveling Crawford Road in Turner Township.

Standish Township, where the Saganing Eagle’s Landing Casino, the source of the 2-percent funds, is physically located, was awarded with $33,400. Sue Stein, the township’s treasurer, said a new township hall roof would be the result of the allotment.

Arenac Township received $19,300 for township projects. Supervisor Jim Daly said funds would be put to use improving the township hall's parking lot, purchasing equipment for the Omer-Arenac Fire Department and removing trees near Michigan Avenue.

Schools

Four school districts — Arenac Eastern, AuGres-Sims, Pinconning and Standish-Sterling — split $200,000, with Arenac Eastern bringing home the heftiest check, which was worth $101,217.

“We have a gratitude to a people that have often been slighted,” said AE Interim Superintendent Patrick Bootz.

AGS was awarded with $7,250; Standish-Sterling received a check for $62,743.56; and the Pinconning Area School District was awarded with $28,789.44.

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