If less is more, then the Quay County Gaming Authority is betting that giving up 4 percent of its interest in a proposed race track and casino will bring profits of a different kind in the future.
The authority agreed on Thursday to give up 4 percent of its 9 percent ownership to major investors in a proposed “racino” in Tucumcari.
The authority's proposal for a "racino" gained the interest earlier this year of a major investor, Don Chalmers of Rio Rancho, and others who are putting together an application to present to the state's racing commission.
Coronado Partners, of which Chalmers is the majority owner, had requested the additional interest to open up ownership to additional investors, said Warren Frost, executive director of the authority.
"It appears that we have to give up a portion of the ownership to strengthen our application," Frost said.
"I think it's (the proposed racino) a great benefit even if we don't get anything," said Larry Wallin, manager of the Village of Logan.
The authority started out as 100 percent owner and gave up 91 percent ownership to investors and is now at 5 percent.
Frost said that the investors were putting their money into processing and presenting the application, which includes economic studies and architectural planning that are costly, and that the community would benefit from the racino.
"Any piece of the pie is better than nothing," said Tucumcari City Commissioner Jim Witcher.
The authority agreed to split the remaining 5 percent among its stakeholders in the following manner:
l Tucumcari - 1.5 percent
l Quay County - 1.5 percent
l Village of Logan - 1 percent
l Village of San Jon - 1 percent
Members of the authority are governmental and elected officials from Tucumcari, Quay County and the villages of Logan and San Jon.
It was initially suggested that the authority allocate 1 percent each to the four entities above and allocate the remaining 1 percent to the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp.
Witcher said the city already financially supports the GTEDC and that the remaining 1 percent should be divided between Quay County and Tucumcari. Witcher said if the racino is approved that the city and county could possibly have added budget expenditures to provide utilities and roads for the facility.
In order to put the new percentages into action, Frost said he would be visiting each governmental entity with paperwork for their option for their respective percentages that would be activated if the racino goes through. On Monday, in fact, Frost is on the agenda for the Quay County Commission to present the county's option for 1.5 percent.
Because the authority would no longer be an owner, Frost said that it may be feasible in the future to disband the authority.
Tucumcari City Manager John Sutherland said he liked the idea of the authority because it represented all the members and appeared to be working well.
Witcher suggested that, perhaps, the authority could become an association.
David Babb of Logan said, "Our collective voice is much stronger."
Plans for the proposed race track and casino, and their footprint on a 248-acre site, will be unveiled to the community at a March 25 meeting in Tucumcari, Frost said. The time and place will be announced later, he said.
The racino site is off of Route 66 on property that is between the Quality Inn and Kmart.
The application to the state is expected to be made within five to 10 days of the public presentation, Frost said.
In other related business, the authority agreed to contribute $10,000 of the authority's current $46,503 budget to the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. to help the agency cover its expenses for the services of Santa Fe lobbyist Butch Maki and Associates. The GTEDC pays Maki $30,000 annually and the thrust of the lobbying efforts are going towards the race track and casino for Tucumcari, Frost said.
"It seems only reasonable that we pitch in $10,000 from our proceeds ... a third of that amount (paid by the GTEDC to Maki)," Frost said.