A house bill recently signed into law by Governor Justice will be a boon to Chester and Newell, but a blow to Hancock County finances. Delegate Mark Zatezalo (R-2nd) was one of 10 sponsors of HB 3450.

The two municipalities totally contained in Hancock County will now share in the distribution of net terminal income from Mountaineer Racetrack & Casino. Under the original video lottery bill, passed in 1993, Hancock County received 2% of the net terminal income . That differed from the other three tracks. Due to their location within a municipality, the municipality received the 2 %. Mountaineer’s location in an unincorporated area meant their 2 % net terminal income went to the County.

Under the new law the 2 % is divided with 1 % remaining with the county.  The other 1 %, however, will be divided among the two incorporated areas, New Cumberland and Chester equally. The bill specifies those funds can only go to a municipality whose boundaries are “wholly within the boundaries of the county.”

While the 2 % racetrack video lottery revenue received by Hancock County dropped to $1,450,690.00 in 2020 that amount rebounded to $1,663,200.00 in June 2022. The Commissioners’ budget for fy 2022/2023 is $1,500,000.00 with that same amount budgeted for fy 2023/24. Under the new law Hancock County’s share would drop to $750,000.00 and Chester and New Cumberland would share equally in the $750,000.00 reserved for the two municipalities.

The bill appeared to have flown under the radar doing the legislative session with only one county being impacted. When asked where Hancock County would cut costs, Commissioner Jeff Davis responded “We have no place to cut.”