Innisfil’s Alternative Revenue Source

I’ve been trying to pick up a few loose ends from earlier stories. One of them is the fallout from the reorganization of the OLG slots program. After the original announcement that revenue sharing with the racetracks would be discontinued, OLG negotiated settlements to compensate those racing venues that had invested to expand gaming operations. Great Canadian Gaming, operator of Georgian Downs, received $31.5 million in 2013 as part of that process. There was concern that Innisfil’s share of slots revenue – the Alternative Revenue Source – would abruptly become unpredictable. For a time, Innisfil Council suspended the program of community grants. They have since been revived. Applications are currently being accepted for $56,000 in community grants. They will be reviewed for approval in mid-March. Another round of grants will be considered in September. Back in 2009 as western economies were tipping off a cliff, the Town had budgeted for $5.2 million in slot revenue. The actual amount received was $4,863,767. In 2010, the Town was still forecasting up to $7.2 million in ‘alternative’ revenue for 2011 and beyond although actual revenue figures probably turned out to be much lower. Since then, budgeted alternative source revenue has returned to 2009 levels. In 2013, slots revenue was budgeted at $4.2 million; in 2014 it increased to $4.3 million; and Innisfil’s draft 2015 budget puts OLG revenue at $4.9 million. (Actual revenue figures are not provided in the budget documents.) (Update: Last year’s OLG revenue was reported to be $5,039,443 after this article was published.) So far, Innisfil continues to collect its golden eggs – not too large, not too small. To put it in perspective, the average household tax bill in 2014 was $3,315. Innisfil’s Alternative Revenue Source in 2014 was equivalent to the residential tax from 1,297 ‘average’ households.

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