NORFOLK — I applaud the letter by over 100 citizens to ask the Norfolk City Council to deny TIF to 75 acres for a race track built by Ho-Chunk gaming. In no way am I against their casino or the track as I welcome the chance to get property tax relief that we have all been looking for and the entire reason the horse track casino measure passed. It just seems odd that we would have to put up a carrot to get this War Horse to come take our gambling and entertainment money. They are coming here to Norfolk one way or another.
This isn’t another manufacturing company making steel or rubber looking for one single spot in Nebraska for its business model. We need to save TIF acres for those companies. Ho-Chunk is a company that wants to cover the entire state with locations that make sense to them population-wise. No different from a gas station, grocery store or a McDonald’s where their corporate studies show they will make a profit in this community and in this location without help from our city in tax breaks.
Furthermore, the city council needs to address the fact that Divots and the DeVent Center are not annexed by the city (they are only in the zoning halo) and they don’t pay city sales tax or city hotel taxes. The city always felt the owner of the property was doing the town a favor by providing entertainment and a quality lodging location and gave her a pass on annexation.
This should be corrected before a casino is built, thus making it a fair playing surface for other bars and restaurants in town, tax-wise.