Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 1, 2014

Newsmakers: County continues to appeal Band land trust

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Band members could not be reached for comment. Denise Barrientoz, Executive Assistant to the CEO at Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos, said Band authorities declined to comment.

Larry Inman, a county commissioner who is involved in negotiations with the Band, said the county would drop its appeal if the Band made a written commitment to pay local taxes on the land.

“We want the value of that land to be taxed so we can get returned funds to support police and other services,” Inman said.

The relationship between municipalities and the tribe is complicated by a compact with the state that requires the tribe to send 2 percent of its electronic gambling revenue to local units of government. The compact expired at the end of November, and a new agreement has yet to be reached.

In recent weeks discussions with the tribe stalled, Inman said.

“If I was a tribal member on their board, I would have to wait and see what the compact from the state of Michigan is like before I can negotiate with Grand Traverse County,” Inman said.

Inman said Band members said the property taxes could be taken out of the 2 percent amount, but county officials were unwilling to use those funds, which normally go to local nonprofits.

The two properties in question generated about $19,500 in taxes in 2011, $2,900 of which were collected by the county.

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