BGR-140924-A001 - Andi Schwartz

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  • Council must solve $413,000 shortfall for 2015 after $500,000 deficit in 2014 budgetSTEVE KADELstaff reporter

    La Center City Council mem-bers are discussing ways to offset an anticipated $413,000 shortfall in next years budget, a problem due primarily to declining gam-bling tax revenue.

    Its not going to be easy, said Paul Lewis, the former City of Vancouver finance director who is facilitating La Center budget hearings.

    During a workshop with coun-cil members Sept. 16, Lewis un-veiled a list of potential actions that include, among other things, increasing the Citys gambling tax on card rooms from 10 per-cent to 11 percent.

    In a related action last week, Woodland City Council members gave preliminary approval to re-ducing that citys gambling tax on the Oak Tree Restaurant Casino from 5 percent to 4 percent.

    La Centers fiscal dilemma stems largely from the closure of Chips Casino. That contributed to a $500,000 decline in revenue this year, and La Center Finance Director Suzanne Levis said council members will plug that gap by taking money from the Citys reserve fund.

    However, council members in-dicated during last weeks meet-

    ing they are reluctant to use that remedy again in 2015. The fund cur-rently stands at $17 million, Levis said.

    Other po-tential reve-

    nue-producing options mentioned by Lewis include adopting a 6 percent gross receipts tax on electricity, natural gas and tele-phone service providers to bring in about $250,000. A similar tax on water, sewer and solid waste service providers would provide another $100,000, according to his projections.

    ACTION AT the Oak Tree Restaurant Casino is shown when the casino was under previous ownership. The current owners want the City of Woodland to reduce its grambling tax from 5 percent to 4 percent.

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    This Weeks ConTenTs

    Vitals a4sports B1legals B5Classifieds B13HealtH & Beauty C1youtH foCus C5alpaCa farm days C6Home & family C7opinion C8Calender C10Happenings C11lewis riVer fall fest C12

    The ReflectorP.O. Box 2020, Battle Ground WA 98604

    50

    The ReflectorThe Newspaper With Integrity Serving North Clark and South Cowlitz Counties, Washington September 24, 2014TheReflector.com

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    Prairie High School graduate remains in rehab at hospitalJOANNA MICHAUDstaff reporter

    On July 30, 18-year-old Jack Fletcher was driving home from Central Oregon to surprise his

    family with an unplanned visit. His parents, however, didnt re-alize just how big of a surprise they were going to get.

    He was driving home to surprise us, said Jacks mom, Kelly. And, well, he definitely surprised us.

    The Prairie High School graduate was six weeks into a fire training program with

    Crook County Fire & Res-cue in Prineville, OR, when he decided to make the drive home to visit his family. But Jack didnt quite make it all the way home as a Ford pickup truck driv-en by 26-year-old Trevor Hughes of Rhododendron,

    Jack Fletcher making progressFire Cadet Down FundraiserWHAT: Fundraiser for Jack Fletcher, who was seriously injured in a head-on collisionWHEN: Wed., Oct. 1, during regular business hours, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.LOCATION: Mill Creek Pub, 1710 SW 9th Ave., Battle Ground, over by the Battle Ground CinemaDETAILS: Mill Creek Pub will hold a raffle to help raise funds for the Fletcher family. Do not need to be present to win. Mill Creek will donate a portion of the days salesCONTACT: For more information or to make a donation, contact Bill Martino, (360) 921-9179

    aT a glanCe

    Photo courtesy of Emma Fletcher

    Photo courtesy of Emma Fletcher

    JACK FLETCHER, 18, has been in the hospital since he was involved in a head-on collision on Highway 26 on July 30. He was recently transferred to the inpatient trauma and rehabilitation floor at Randall Childrens Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.

    A PRAIRIE HIGH School graduate, Jack Fletcher was six weeks into a fire training program with Crook County Fire & Rescue in Prineville, OR. Fletcher took part in the Clark County fire cadet program and completed the program in his second year.

    Project hinges on lower gambling tax rateSTEVE KADELstaff reporter

    Oak Tree Restaurant officials are one step away from having their casinos city gambling tax reduced from 5 percent to 4 per-cent a move that could allow the company to build a 70- to 80-room hotel, according to an Oak Tree spokesman.

    Woodland City Council mem-bers voted Sept. 15 to give pre-liminary support to the change,

    which was sought by Oak Tree consultant Wally Fitzwater as a way to keep the towns iconic restaurant open.

    Fitzwater told council mem-bers at last weeks meeting the Oak Tree is struggling with its

    tax burden. The restaurant is in financial trouble as a result, he said.

    The Oak Tree cant stand on its own, Fitzwater said. The way to do that is to have a successful casino. But we have to compete with the casi-nos in La Center. We also have to compete with the Cowlitz (Tribes) casino people say will open in four to eight years.

    In making his plea for the reduced tax on card room rev-enue, Fitzwater said the Oak Tree wants to build a hotel to

    Oak Tree officials eye hotel construction

    Having 180 people employed is good

    for Woodland. Marshall Allen

    Woodland City Council member

    Photo by Mike Schultz

    La Center struggles with anticipated deficit

    JIM IRISH

    See FLETCHER on Page A3

    See OAK TREE on Page A2

    See LA CENTER on Page A3

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