Springfield City Council Temporarily Delays Vote On Casino Agreement
After delaying an expected vote Monday night, The Springfield City Council could decide as early as Friday to ratify a proposed host community agreement to build a casino in the city. City Council President Jim Ferrera invoked a procedural rule calling on the City Auditor to provide a written analysis of the agreement signed last week by Mayor Domenic Sarno and MGM Resorts. Ferrera, who supports a Springfield casino, says there are questions about the agreement that need addressing, noting it will impact the city for generations to come.
“And if we just simply rubberstamp this document, we are not doing the citizens and business community of the city of Springfield justice.”
However, fellow Councilor Tim Rooke, says while he understands the need for due diligence in vetting the agreement, he's concerned this could slow momentum if delayed too long.
“Don't forget, we're in a race with other communities. So the sooner we can have an election, and hoping that it's a favorable result, the sooner we can get it down to Boston and be the first ones in the gate with all of our information in there. And they can start reviewing our applications.”
Rooke successfully lobbied the City Council to reconvene Friday afternoon to discuss and possibly vote on the host agreement. If approved, a city-wide voter referendum could be held by as soon as mid-July. Ultimately, it will be up to the State Gaming Commission to decide whether Springfield, West Springfield or Palmer will get the sole casino license for western Massachusetts. That decision is not expected until sometime early next year.