DeKalb County, Illinois Enters Intergovernmental Agreement with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas

DeKalb County, Illinois Enters Intergovernmental Agreement with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas

March 2008
By: H. Scott Althouse, On February 20, 2008, the DeKalb County Board voted 16-7 to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement ("IGA") with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation concerning the Tribe's proposed construction and operation of a tribal government center and Class II bingo facility on 128 acres of fee lands the Tribe bought for $8.8 million near the town of Shabbona, Illinois. The Kansas-based Prairie Band is the political successor-in-interest to Chief Shab-eh-nay, a famous Ottawa Indian who was granted 1280 acres from the United States under the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829. The Prairie Band claims that the 128-acres, located within the former 1280-acre Shab-eh-nay Reserve, constitutes Reservation status and thus provides the Tribe with federal rights to conduct gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"). However, that qualifying status of the land remains an open question until the National Indian Gaming Commission makes a land determination that the Tribe's 128-acre purchase qualifies as "Indian lands" as required by IGRA. The Intergovernmental Agreement outlines the responsibilities of the County and the Tribe. Under the IGA, the County pledges to work cooperatively with the Tribe in reviewing the plans and construction of the gaming facility and government center in exchange for 2.5% of the Tribe's net gaming revenues or $800,000 annually, whichever is greater, to mitigate the impacts on County government services that are attributable to the Tribe's gaming operations. The Tribe also will make semi-annual payments in lieu of taxes to the County at the same rate as other landowners pay taxes in the County. The Tribe also agrees to adopt the substantive requirements of the DeKalb County Code with respect to public health and safety, construction and zoning. In the event that the NIGC issues a land determination that the Tribe's 128 acres does not qualify for gaming under IGRA, then the IGA terminates automatically. Otherwise, the parties' obligations under the IGA remain in effect as long as the Tribe conducts commercial gaming in the County unless terminated by mutual written consent of the parties. A copy of the IGA can be found here: http://www.dekalbcounty.org/PBPN/pbpn_index.html.
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