PCI OKs financial request
By By Lisa Tindell
The Escambia County Commission and council members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians have come to a financial agreement concerning the operation of the Creek Entertainment Center near Atmore.
PCI council chairman Buford Rolin represented the tribe during Monday's meeting of the commission when the new agreement was approved and signed.
"This has certainly worked out the way we had hoped," Rolin said. "We are well pleased with this agreement. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point, but we are happy with the way this has worked out."
Commission chairman David Stokes said reaching the agreement with PCI was a pleasant experience.
"It has certainly been a pleasure to work with Chairman Rolin on this agreement," Stokes said. "He is an honorable man, and PCI should be proud of their chairman and the entire council."
County Commissioner Todd Williamson said the agreement should be beneficial for both parties.
"Despite the fact that each one of us at this table represents one area of the county, we all work together for the good of the whole county and our people," Williamson said. "I believe that we have come to an agreement that will be a win-win situation for everyone concerned."
In an earlier proposed agreement, Escambia County had requested PCI pay the county more than $4 million during the next eight years.
Rolin said the tribe could never abide by such an agreement stating the commission was comparing the operations at Poarch to similar operations in Hollywood, Fla.
In the new agreement, signed by both groups on Monday, PCI will pay $300,000 over a 36-month period to the county to help defray costs for law enforcement and infrastructure as a result of the new gaming facility currently under construction.
In the approved agreement, PCI has agreed to make the annual contributions to the county to defray the cost of any impacts of the existing facility and the costs and expenses of lessening the impacts that the county may incur as a result of PCI's development and operation of the facility. The funds will also assist with the cost of any services that the county may provide to PCI in respect of the facility.
The agreement also states after the 36-month period or the one-year anniversary of the opening of the facility, the county and PCI have agreed to analyze the impacts the facility has had on the county's operating budget with consideration to law enforcement services and road and bridge infrastructure.
The commission on Monday also amended and passed a resolution to abandon County Road 14, which is adjacent to property currently occupied by PCI's Creek Entertainment Center just off U.S. 21 near Atmore.
In the abandonment resolution, the commission agreed to vacate a portion of County Road 14 upon the completion of a road to be built by PCI to specifications that meet the construction of county roads policy.
PCI has agreed to construct and maintain the new roadway at the expense of the tribe. The agreement states PCI will be responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, repair, striping, resurfacing, reconstruction and landscaping involved in changing County Road 14.
"The fact that we are building a four-lane boulevard is going to benefit everyone," Rolin said. "The construction has begun at the site and we expect that within 12 to 18 months from now, the facility will be operating as we have planned."
Upon completion of all phases of development planned by PCI, the casino and resort facility will contain a 17-story, 236-room hotel with restaurants and a golf course.