Los Coyotes Casino

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Barstow Casino. (Photo courtesy of www.barstowcasinoproject.com)

Posted Oct. 12, 2014 @ 2:31 pm
Updated Oct 12, 2014 at 2:44 PM

BARSTOW — Local government agencies would lose some property tax revenue if land being targeted for an Indian casino is put into a trust for development, but one Barstow City Councilman says that shouldn’t be a concern.

Barstow City Councilman Richard Harpole said a municipal agreement with the casino would cover the extra costs for police and other emergency services.

“The economic impact of the casino will far offset the amount of tax money the city would be losing,” he said. “Between the municipal agreement and economic benefit, it will be far more than the paltry tax money we currently are getting.”

The Bureau of Indian Affairs on Sept. 18 sent the notice of an application seeking acceptance of title to property “in trust” to several government agencies, including the city of Barstow and various San Bernardino County agencies. But the notice also was sent to the state of California and Victor Valley cities.

The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians has been seeking to build the casino on about 23 acres of land near the Tanger Outlet mall for about 12 years.

The project to build a casino off of Indian reservation land is part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It specifically allows a federally recognized tribe to apply to have land taken into trusts so that it can be used for Indian gaming if the Department of Interior determines that it would be beneficial to the tribe and not detrimental to the surrounding community. The governor also would have to sign off on the project.

“This is procedural in nature and part of the process by which discretionary authority is granted to the Secretary of the Interior or an authorized representative to assist in exercising the trust land acquisition subject to a two-part determination,” city of Barstow spokesman Anthony Riley said. “That determination is based on the project being beneficial to the tribe, and not detrimental to the local community. The City of Barstow continues to remain optimistic throughout the process, and we will keep you apprised of future developments.”

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