The towns of Payson and Star Valley got a boost in their bottom line last week when the Tonto Apache Tribe gave each town a check.
Payson received just shy of $30,000 and Star Valley nearly $10,000.
Both towns can use the money, which is handed out every year as part of the tribe’s gaming compact, for whatever they choose to benefit the town’s residents.
In the past, Payson used the money to install flashing school zone lights and pave a road to Frontier Elementary School.
Jerry Holland, tribe controller, said the tribe asked Payson to use the money several years ago for the operation of the Tonto Natural Bridge, but with the bridge’s future uncertain these days, the tribe decided against making this distinction again.
The money was doled out to each town based on their size, Holland explained, “we tried to be even.”
The tribe’s gaming compact requires payments to the state from casino proceeds. It allows the tribe to contribute up to 12 percent of this payment to cities, towns and counties for government services that benefit the public.
The tribe decided to give the money locally because it benefits its core customer base, Holland said.
“We want to keep the money local,” he said. “We could give the money to any town, but we want to support the people who support the casino.”