St. Charles expecting near $2 million drop in revenue with Blanchette Bridge closing


by staff

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 24 at 5:21 PM

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV) – The city of St. Charles is expecting to see a $2 million drop in revenue from Ameristar Casino when the westbound lanes of the Blanchette Bridge closes on November 2.

Once construction on the bridge starts, westbound traffic will be diverted to the other half of the bridge.

Kelly Vaughn, the director of finance for St. Charles, says city officials believe drivers’ confusion on how to get to St. Charles will lead to losses in gaming revenue and sales tax funds.

Gaming funds will account for 10 percent of St. Charles’ expected revenue for 2013, as the city gets $1 per admission to Ameristar and 2 percent of its adjusted gross revenue.

Vaughn said the city expects to get $12.9 million in gaming funds in 2012. That number is projected to drop to about 11 million in 2013.

Officials said they will have to spend less on capital improvement projects next year to make up for the loss in revenue.

"We've had to put a few capital expenditures on hold for 2013 in order to use that revenue with general fund to fund our fire and police services," said Vaughn.

The city says 76 percent of gaming revenue goes to the general fund, which pays for administration, police and fire budgets.

Vaugn said they will have to rely more heavily on gaming revenue next year.

To make up for the drop in revenue in the meantime, the city will continue a hiring freeze and seek to restructure its department to fill current opening.s

The city council must approve its budget by the end of 2012.