Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon hopes that casino dollars can be used to reduce property taxes in Wyandotte County.
The Hollywood Casino, which opened near Kansas Speedway in February, netted almost $7 million in gambling revenues its first week, Reardon said. The mayor pointed to that and other success stories Tuesday in his State of the Government address at the Jack Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City, Kan.
The recession has been hard for Wyandotte County and other communities, Reardon said, and it forced the Unified Government to raise property taxes last year. But Reardon said most property owners are still paying less than in 2007.
The Unified Government estimates that the Hollywood Casino could generate up to $200 million each year, with 5 percent of gaming revenues going to local government.
The mayor described several other business developments that he said painted a brighter economic picture.
Among the biggest is the Cerner West Campus project, begun this year at Interstate 435 and State Avenue. Its two nine-story towers will be the largest privately owned office space in the city, Reardon said, and could create 4,000 jobs averaging $54,000 a year.
Reardon reminded the audience that the two Kansas Citys are the first place in the country to be part of the Google Fiber Project.
Despite the recession, Reardon said, Wyandotte County finished 2011 with $158 million in commercial construction activity.
The Unified Government counted a 5.7 percent increase in sales tax revenue in 2011, and its fund balance has risen to $6 million, from a low of $1.8 million in 2010.
Reardon said such improvements came from tough decisions, such as reducing the local government’s workforce by 200. Reardon said employees are in their fourth straight year of no pay raises.
Looking ahead, Reardon said the federally funded rapid bus project could cut travel time from downtown to Village West in half.