Tribal Economic Impact 2018 - Page 7

have to find someone to watch the kids.” Dean is an economist for Oklahoma City University and focuses on tribal issues. He said the Otoe-Missouria’s issues are to be expected. “There is a distributional issue that is going to crop up among the nations with respect to the regions,” he said. “If I have access to a popul ation of people who potentially demand my product, I’m going to have better demand. The sheer geography does tend to create issues for some tribes.” Although the expansion is a tactic to draw more people to the area, Dean said all tribes will likely begin diversifying in coming years. No one knows how popular casino gaming will be in 30 years, and diversifying the tribes’ potential revenue streams is the best way to ensure services remain funded. “I think you’re going to start to see more creativity going forward in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. Just a few miles south, the project is causing some concerns about service funding. Newkirk, a town of about 2,500 people, is about 7 miles away. City Clerk Kellie Johnson said she’s excited to be able to take her own family to the park, but it could end up costing Although the expansion is a tactic to draw more people to the area, economist Kyle Dean said all tribes will likely begin diversifying in coming years. No one knows how popular casino gaming will be in 30 years, and diversifying the tribes’ potential revenue streams is the best way to ensure services remain funded. her town more than it raises for it. Newkirk covers the tribe’s area with fire protection and emergency medical services. Depending on the number of calls the city receives, the expansion could create more demand for those services. “We may have to hire another person to cover that,” Johnson said. “It is going to put a strain on our emergency vehicles.” Newkirk can’t levy taxes on the nation’s land, so it will receive no increase in sales taxes. There are few places to eat in the town, Johnson said, so it’s unlikely park patrons will go there. Their best hope, she said, is that the scores of new employees will decide to live in Newkirk and not Arkansas City, Kansas, which is just a few miles north of the tribe’s land and has six times the population. “It makes for tough decisions on our part as a city,” she said. J O U R N A L R E C O R D . C O M • THE JOURNAL RECORD 7