Kern County has proposed a 20-year, $218 million deal with the Tejon Indians to provide fire, law enforcement and other services at the $600 million casino and hotel the tribe and Hard Rock International plan to open half an hour south of Bakersfield.
The deal, set for a vote July 23 by the county Board of Supervisors, would include $13.3 million in one-time payments to help build a new county fire and sheriff's substation near the project's proposed 306-acre site in Mettler, as well as paying for a new deputy-sheriff training academy and new equipment.
Recurring payments under the proposed agreement would cover nine new county fire positions; 13 new sheriff's department positions; a gambling treatment program; money for gradual replacement of equipment at the new substation; and ongoing contributions to the county general fund based on a 6 percent hotel-room occupancy tax.
Approval of the deal would represent a milestone in the tribe's and Hard Rock's plan to open a 165,500-square-foot casino and 400-room hotel with 13 restaurants, an entertainment venue, a spa-fitness center and convention space northwest of South Sabodan and Wild Flower streets. The project would also include a 22-acre RV park, as well as tribal administrative offices, a health care facility and housing.
A three-page summary of the proposed deal, released by the county Thursday morning, reiterates previous estimates the casino-hotel project is expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs, with a projected annual payroll of $60 million.
It adds that the project contains a local-hiring provision encouraging the hotel-casino's operators to make sure at least half its employees come from local communities.
Because the project is a tribal project exempt from paying taxes, the summary states, the purpose of the proposed agreement is to compensate the county for providing law enforcement, fire protection and emergency services at the site.
The deal would expire after 20 years and could be renegotiated then.