Speedway’s Future in Jeopardy?

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A racetrack in Schuylkill County is threatening to shut down because of a dispute involving an amusement tax and its impact on Big Diamond Speedway.

The track near Minersville has been sponsoring races for decades, but track officials said they may close their doors.

"We can't pay the 10 percent. We would have to shut down. There is no way anyone in this economic climate could absorb a double tax on their business," said Krista Roehrig of Big Diamond Speedway.

Cass Township has had a 10 percent amusement tax since the 1980s. Race officials said they couldn't afford it, so they cut a deal with the former township officials reducing the tax to five percent. A new board of supervisors wants the ten percent.

The Cass Township supervisors nor their attorney said there is no written record in their files about a special deal for the racetrack to pay only five percent. Complicating the dispute, race officials don't have any documentation either.

If the racing stops, one area restaurant owner said she would lose customers.

"Times are tough in this area and everybody, we look forward to that Friday and that business," said Debbie Rosenberger of the Station House Restaurant.

Then there are the race fans.

"It's a shame. If this track has to close down, there is going to be nothing to do. I am going to be really upset," said race fan Shirley Renninger.

The township supervisors also noticed this year an additional drop in the amusement tax dollars from the track. That's why the supervisors are paying  people $17 an hour to count patrons.

"These people up here clicking they don't have an accurate price for people coming in. There are different ticket prices," Roehrig added.

Big Diamond Speedway officials predict if they can't come to terms with the township, the dispute will end up in court.