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Petaluma to get $100,000-plus annually from Rohnert Park casino

An unexpected pot of cash for law enforcement agencies in four Sonoma County cities is at play in negotiations under way between the county and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria over how to offset the impacts of the casino the tribe is building next to Rohnert Park.

A minimum annual payment of $416,918 is to be divided among Santa Rosa, which is due $286,923 a year; Petaluma, $102,591; Cotati, $12,808; and Sebastopol, $14,596.

Though overshadowed by the millions of dollars at stake in mitigation payments to the county -- and those also designated for Rohnert Park -- the amount is still significant, officials say.

"For a department our size, it's not inconsequential at all," said Chief Jeff Weaver of the 13-officer Sebastopol Police Department. It could fund overtime, educational or enforcement efforts, or equipment purchases, he said.

In budget-strapped Petaluma, City Manager John Brown said, "You're basically talking about buying an officer, or the better part of an officer. That's great. If there aren't strings attached, then I'd be happy to receive it."


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