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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

BV County prepares for a rumored casino gambling petition

Monday, July 3, 2006

While the Buena Vista County Board has not been approached with the possibility of a gambling casino coming to the area, recent rumors prompted County Auditor Karen Strawn to publish the requirements to be placed on November's ballot on the board's Friday agenda.

According to the agenda, a petition to place the issue on the ballot, with no less than 849 signatures, must be turned in to the board of supervisors no later than Aug. 17. After being filed, the public would have five days to file written objections to placing the issue on the ballot.

Board chairman Bill Lanphere is uncertain whether such a vote will be called for.

"There has been some talk, that is all I know," he said. "I have heard a committee has been formed and has met once."

Lanphere does not know who is on the committee are nor if any decision has been made, but said making the requirements public knowledge was a good idea.

"The board is not in favor of this, or against it," Lanphere said of legalized gambling. "It would have to come through us, and we will not stop it from going to the ballot."

Strawn said if a special election was required, as opposed to putting it on the general election ballot, it could cost taxpayers about $17,000.

On Friday, Assistant City Administrator Justin Yarosevich said he has heard nothing about a committee formed to study the possibility of a casino in the area.

In the past, rumors about casino gambling have been more than just rumors.

Initially, Storm Lake was seen as a possible site for a casino boat when the state first legalized such gambling, but with no local interest, focus soon moved to the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

When the state was considering its expansion of permits for casinos a couple of years ago, a concerted effort was made to petition for an election on the issue, with groups both for and against local casino gaming forming. While the petition was said to be complete, it was never presented to the county to force a vote, as organizers felt local government was not supportive.

More recently, there has been some talk of a casino being a potential partner for the Project AWAYSIS development, but that has never been part of the city's plan.

Cal Johnson, leader of the original group petitioning to bring a casino to the area, said he is not aware of any petition drive going on currently to bring a county vote.

"It would be news to me," he said.



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