OTTUMWA — $6.6 million was spent in Wapello County in lottery ticket sales in 2013.
Since 2003, the amount of money spent on lottery tickets by local residents has grown by more than $2 million. If statistics are correct, the number of lottery tickets purchased in Wapello County will continue to grow.
A portion of lottery revenue does stay in the community with the retailer who sold the ticket, and a very, very small portion is given back to the Wapello County Foundation to help nonprofits in our local communities.
Yet, as we look at the amount of disposable cash that left our community, we wondered what $6.6 million would like look if that lottery money didn’t leave our community for the state’s coffers. Imagine if every dollar spent on the Iowa Lottery stayed within our local community.
We posed the following question of various individuals in our community: If you had the $6.6 million in your budget, how would your organization spend the money to benefit the community?
Tom Lazio, mayor of Ottumwa
Wow! $6.6 million would do wonders for our budget. I would split it up to reduce taxes and then apply some to capital improvements and the rest to streets and sewer projects.
We also could use it to help offset the ADA requirements that are facing the city. We need to make up for not doing some of the infrastructure repairs that have been put off. Additional money could be used to offset some of the ongoing expenses that keep increasing each year.
Tim Kurtz, executive director Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce
As our mission statement states “Promote the greater Ottumwa area as a vigorous hub of commerce and quality community life,” so first and foremost I would use the money to promote existing business and to attract potential business to the area.