UG plans budget presentation, workshops

The administrator’s budget presentation is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, July 10, at the Commission Chambers, City Hall, lobby level, 701 N. 7th, Kansas City, Kan.

Other special budget workshops also are scheduled in July in the fifth floor conference room, Suite 515, at City Hall.

They include: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10; 5 p.m. Monday, July 14; 5 p.m. Thursday, July 17; 6 p.m. Monday, July 21; 5 p.m. Thursday, July 24; and 5 p.m. Thursday, July 31, if necessary.

The final budget public hearing, followed by a budget workshop if necessary, will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, July 28.

The meetings are open to the public.

UG looks to refinance Legends theater bonds

The Unified Government Commission will be looking at refinancing the Legends theater bonds on Thursday, July 10.

The $6.9 million refinance was discussed at a UG Economic Development and Finance Committee Standing Committee meeting Monday night.

Lew Levin, UG chief financial officer, said a payment of $6.8 million is due on Aug. 1, and the refinancing would allow the UG to extend the financing for four years.

The proposed terms with Security Bank are 2.75 percent, $100,000 annually, he said. There is another balloon payment in four years of $6.6 million.

“It allows the government to look for opportunities to move forward with the sale of the theater while at the same time continuing to pay off the debt on the theater,” he said.

Doug Bach, UG administrator, said since the Legends theater was designed and built, the UG has never put any general funds into it, but all of the costs have been covered by theater operations.

“It was done originally to bring a movie theater into Wyandotte County, where we were without one at the time, so it has been a great asset,” Bach said. “We are looking at options, we think there is a market that has returned to our venue at this time that we could look at for a potential sale. Our economic development department is pursuing that to see whether or not it is viable.”

But the top priority is to keep a good-quality theater in Wyandotte County that will have long-lasting sustainability, he said. As long as costs are covered, the UG does not feel it needs to hurry to find a buyer. If a quality buyer is found that would maintain the theater over a long period, the staff would come back to the commission and recommend the sale, he said.

Kansas attorney general says federal agency has rejected Wyandotte Nation’s application for Park City tribal casino

The U.S. Department of the Interior has rejected a request by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma to take land owned by the tribe near Park City into a federal trust under a law that would have allowed casino gaming on the parcel, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

For years, the tribe has sought federal approval for the project. In federal court litigation as well as before the Department of the Interior, Schmidt’s office has defended the state’s legal interests in not allowing the tribal casino in Park City, which is near the Wichita area. The Wyandotte Nation has another casino in Kansas, the 7th Street Casino near City Hall in downtown Kansas City, Kan.

In 2013, the federal district court ruled in favor of Kansas on the tribe’s request to have the court force the Department of Interior to rule in its favor, but did direct the Department of the Interior to make a decision, one way or the other, on the tribe’s pending land-into-trust application. With its new decision to deny the land-into-trust application, the department has done so.

“We think the Department of the Interior reached the correct legal conclusion in disallowing this land-into-trust application,” Schmidt said. “This decision is one more successful step in defending Kansas law, which does not allow a tribal casino in Sedgwick County. If there are later efforts by the tribe or others to contest the Department’s denial of the application, we will continue to vigorously defend our state’s legal interests.”