So who is going to make up the reduction of monies from the River Rock Casino? The City of Richmond had budgeted $14 million revenue from the casino, and it is now expected to receive only approximately $3 million. The $14 million was not going to be realized with the exposure of money laundering and was reduced even more when COVID-19 hit.
My question is, why was this money even budgeted for? The money from the casino was always a “windfall” for the city and never guaranteed, unlike property taxes. This money should never have been relied upon for general expenses but rather put into a rainy day fund for unusual expenses, like now during the pandemic.
Money from the casino was never guaranteed, but the city decided to put it into general revenue and use it for pet projects like the Oval and to fund large pay raises for city staff.*
In other words, they got too used to it coming in and didn’t consider what might happen if the goose that laid the golden eggs should die, as it has — at least it’s laying much smaller eggs.
Now, who do you think the city is going to turn to for the loss? Well, they only have one source of income, and that is the taxpayer. Get ready for large property tax increases folks!
*Editor’s note: Casino revenue does not go into general revenue. It does not fund operating expenses, which includes salaries.