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Santa Ysabel Band and County of San Diego Enter into Intergovernmental Agreement; Agreement is First of a Kind between Tribal and San Diego County Government.

SAN DIEGO -- The Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians and the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego yesterday came to a historic agreement that clears the way for the Santa Ysabel Tribe to begin construction of a new gaming facility located on Highway 79 in Santa Ysabel. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the county and the tribal government that outlines a broad range of agreements on issues including public health and safety, air and water quality, waste treatment, and traffic congestion.

"This agreement represents government-to-government work at its best," said Santa Ysabel Chairman Johnny Hernandez. "Working together, we have been able to come to terms on an agreement that very well may serve as a model for future intergovernmental agreements."

Under terms of the MOU, the tribe agrees to make annual payments that guarantee a minimum of $600,000 to the county. This is in addition to the funds the tribe has agreed to pay to the state under its approved state gaming compact. The document clearly outlines the specific uses of the funds and earmarks $300,000 of the annual payment exclusively for the treatment of problem and pathological gambling.

Other uses of the funds include reimbursement for county law enforcement personnel, emergency medical response for traffic accidents and hazardous waste response. In addition to agreements on specific guidelines to minimize disruption during construction of the facility, the document also includes many provisions on working with Caltrans to ensure that state routes feeding the new facility are properly improved.

"Development and completion of this gaming facility will be an important step in the direction of self-sufficiency and economic development for the Santa Ysabel tribe," said Hernandez. "It will allow us to provide much-needed services and infrastructure for our people."

Construction is scheduled to begin on the new casino by early March 2005 with an opening date slated for December 2005. The 50,000-square-foot facility will include a gaming floor, restaurants and other amenities. Plans also include the construction of several bungalows for lodging.

The Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians reservation encompasses 15,343 acres on three tracts of land in northern San Diego County. The tribe of 743 adults and children has been in the region since being recognized by executive order in 1875.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 13, 2005
Words:389
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