NY Towns Take the Money

Several cities and towns in Oneida and Madison counties in New York State have agreed to accept funding from Oneida Nation gaming revenues to compensate for income lost when the Indians claimed tax-free land.

Part of historic 2013 settlement

The town of Augusta, New York has accepted a deal in which it will be paid $107,500 per year to compensate for the presence of tax-free Oneida Indian Nation land within its boundaries.

The town board voted 3-1 last week to join with the city of Sherrill and village of Vernon to take the deal, offered by Oneida County, reported the Rome Sentinel. According to the formula, that amounts to about $53 for each resident to make up for sales tax, property taxes and other fees the tribe will not be paying.

The county is discussing similar arrangements with the town of Vienna and village of Sylvan Beach. The Vernon-Verona-Sherrill School District is also talking to the county about a possible agreement.

In 2013, the tribe reached a settlement with the state and Oneida and Madison counties to end longstanding tax and land issues. As a result, the Oneidas have agreed to send a share of revenues from Turning Stone Resort Casino to the state. Part of that money will compensate the communities.

Municipalities that take the county’s money cannot sue the Oneidas over land and tax issues, the Sentinel reported.

The federal Department of the Interior will take 13,004 acres of local land into trust for the Oneidas. The land includes Turning Stone in Verona and 32 acres near Oneida, according to Indian Country Today.