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Sierra Wave Media has this City of Ridgecrest news release regarding resolution and a planned casino/hotel:

“The City of Ridgecrest and the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe are pleased to announce a resolution of all disputes between the Tribe and the City. The Tribe had filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association alleging that the City was obligated to sell property located on China Lake Boulevard pursuant to the terms of a Municipal Services Agreement that the Tribe had entered with the City.

To resolve these claims, the City has agreed to the sell the property in exchange for modifications to the underlying Municipal Services Agreement. The modifications include:

Phase 1 of the project is the construction of a casino. Phase 2 is the construction of a hotel and related amenities. The settlement agreement guarantees the City certain increases to the City’s mitigation revenues— even if the Tribe never builds Phase 2 (a $13 million increase in revenue to the City).

More specifically, the settlement agreement provides that if the Tribe does not build Phase 2 by year three, the Tribe’s annual minimum mitigation payment increases to $819,000 and the annual critical services payment increases to $388,000 (total revenue of $1.2 million beginning year four – not including additional anticipated transit occupancy taxes).

The settlement agreement reduces mitigation payments for Phase I and II from 2% to 1.899% to account for the removal of fire service obligation (10.1% of one percent of valuation – same as County fire fund property tax formula) and provides that the Tribe will be responsible to negotiate its own fire services with Kern County.

Overall, the total anticipated revenue to the City over the 20 year term of the MSA is $30.2 million.

In exchange, the City has agreed to sell  the China Lake Boulevard property to the Tribe’s developer, Global Investment Enterprise Ridgecrest, for the original sales price of $5,500,000. The sale is set to close before July 30, 2020. In addition, the Tribe has agreed to stop all litigation against the City. This agreement is also conditioned on the dismissal of collateral claims filed by China Lake Properties against the City. The agreement clears the way for the casino project to move forward.

“We are very pleased with the outcome,” said Peggy Breeden, the Mayor of Ridgecrest. “The City is looking forward to putting this dispute behind us and working with the Tribe for the successful realization of the project. The modifications to the MSA will benefit the City and ensure that we can provide the necessary municipal services.”

Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Chairwoman White Dove Kennedy said, “The Tribe appreciates the willingness of the City of Ridgecrest to renegotiate our agreements so that we can move forward together. We look forward to a positive government to government relationship with the City, and to bringing an exciting new entertainment option to the residents of Ridgecrest.”

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