The Hopkins Township Board Monday night took no action on a request from the Gun Lake Tribe to purchase 130 acres of land near Arnsman’s Septic Service on 12th Street, just north and west of Exit No. 61 on the U.S.-131 expressway.
John Shagonaby, senior director for government affairs, told the board he’s not sure yet what the tribe’s plans are for the parcel, but he would meet soon with the Tribal Council.
Township Supervisor Mark Evans said he received the request only Monday via e-mail because it first had been mailed incorrectly to former Township Clerk Lisa Battjes.
Evans said the parcel brings in about $100,000 a year in tax revenue for the township, revenue that would be lost because it would come under ownership of a sovereign Native American nation. The site is just across the freeway from the main campus of the Gun Lake Casino, but Shagonaby promised it would be non-gaming land.
“Here we go with another property that goes off the tax rolls,” said Trustee Bob Modreske, who obviously was not keen about the proposal. “Sooner or later this is going to affect our bottom line. That little bit of revenue sharing coming back isn’t equivalent by any means.”
“The revenue from the casino won’t keep up with the loss,” agreed Evans.
The Gun Lake Casino, because of its gaming compact, provides revenue sharing money to surrounding townships, including Hopkins, Martin, Leighton and Dorr. Hopkins in 2017 received about $33,000, according to its 2017-18 budget.
Evans said the township supposed to reply within 30 days of receipt of the request, but he will ask for an extension of the deadline in oder to meet with the township attorney to craft a response.