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Selectmen Vote to Finalize Casino Host Community Agreement

Foxwoods Massachusetts provided this architectural rendering of its final resort casino proposal.

The Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 on September 4 – with Chairman William Buckley opposed – to finalize a "host community agreement" with Foxwoods Massachusetts, LLC for the proposed resort casino to be located off the northbound side of Route I-495 near Route 16. Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis' motion called for attorneys to finalize wording in the agreement in time for it to be signed at his board's September 9 meeting. In addition, at that meeting, selectmen were expected to set a date for the townwide referendum vote on the host community agreement.

[Editor's Note: See separate story in this issue on the host community agreement signing. Readers can get the latest news updates on the proposed casino by following Kevin Rudden's reports on Twitter: @mtcruminations.]

Selectmen held a special meeting on September 4 for the sole purpose of reviewing the latest draft of the host community agreement, following the board's review of an initial draft at its August 26 meeting. Buckley's comment, "I want Everett money," at the earlier meeting sparked a flurry of negotiations from that date through the Labor Day weekend that led to Foxwoods increasing the size of its planned casino as well as the amounts of money it pledges to pay to the town before the resort casino is built and annually after it opens. Buckley's comment referred to Everett's agreement with Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn, which would provide that community with $25 million per year.

The expanded Foxwoods' proposal combines its originally proposed Phase I and later-to-be-built Phase II into a single development that would be about 70 percent to 75 percent of the combined two phases. As a result, the company is now offering to pay the town $32.1 million in upfront payments and a guaranteed $31 million in annual payments. Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera described the changes on September 4 as "not so much to help the project, but to help the town." He added, "We were able to come up with something that made sense to both sides."

Following the board's vote, Butera commented, "I think it went very well. We got what we want." Foxwoods wants the community to study the agreement before the referendum vote, he said, commenting, "We want people to vet these things thoroughly."

Before the board voted, Buckley asked each of the town's outside consultants to explain whether the casino plan changes would have any effect on their previous recommendations. Each said the changes would not. Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin and Fire Chief John Touhey also said they have no issues with the revised agreement. "We feel comfortable with the changes," added David Condrey, manager of the Milford Water Company. "When things changed last week, they changed very quickly," commented Town Engineer Vonnie Reis. "I feel very confident that their [all town department heads'] concerns were heard and their needs were addressed.

"It has been done the Milford way," DeBartolomeis said of the casino review process. "All the protections are there." He added, "In my opinion, I think this is a good thing for the Town of Milford. The majority of people are telling me that they want to see the document [the host agreement] and vote on it, he said. "I, for one, am very satisfied. I'm very confident that this is something the Town of Milford should really look at."

"I, too, see this process as coming to a close," said Selectman Brian Murray, who praised the level of involvement that both people in favor and against the proposed casino have shown during the casino review process. "This process, to me, has been great," he said. "I've done the best I can to give you an opportunity to decide if you want this for the town," Murray explained. "From my perspective, I've done that."

Buckley noted that he and his colleagues had received the latest draft of the host community agreement the afternoon before the September 4 meeting. Pointing to a thick folder of papers, he said, I just have not had the time to go through this document thoroughly." He wanted more money put into a fund to compensate eastern Milford residents whose property values may decline after the casino is built, saying that "I don't think the dollars are sufficient."

To read more about the Casino Host Agreement visit

What's in the Host Community Agreement?

The final host community agreement includes the following provisions in which Foxwoods Massachusetts will:

• Provide a $27.5-million community development grant, payable is installments of $2.5 million at issuance of building permit, $5 million on first anniversary, $5 million on second anniversary, $7.5 million on third anniversary and $7.5 million on fourth anniversary.

• Provide $2.5 million to establish a Residence Impact Fund to compensate residents for loss in value, if any, in home located near casino for a period of five years from casino opening.

• Pay $1.1 million in community impact payment for Police Department and Fire Department personnel and equipment and Highway Department equipment.

• Pay the $1- million estimated cost of new ladder truck for Fire Department.

• Pay an estimated $25 million in annual real and personal property tax payments, based on current tax rates and the proposed construction budget.

• Pay $2.9 million in annualcommunity impact payments, increased by the federal consumer price index or other agreed-to standards, for Police and Fire personnel cost-of-living adjustments.

• Pay an estimated $3.0 million annual school aid contribution.

• Provide $100,000 in annual funding for MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority membership and expansion.

• Reimburse all costs incurred by the Town of Milford in connection with the agreement, project planning, consultants, infrastructure improvements and project development.

• Pay for all costs to upgrade utilities' infrastructures.

• Pay an estimated $100 million for traffic infrastructure improvements, including post-construction monitoring program for at least five years with the casino developer responsible for future mitigation costs.

• Pay for sound barriers to be constructed along Route I-495, if permitted by government regulations

• Pay the town $20,000 annually to be used by Selectmen for grants or financial support for local concerts, exhibits, performing/visual art programs, museums, cultural institutions, not-for-profit organizations and other local organizations.

• Pay $10,000 annually to the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce or a similar organization, as directed by Selectmen, to promote town business and tourism.

• Use its "best efforts" to create and maintain about 3,000 construction jobs and to employ about 3,500 people – and to achieve 95 percent of these labor participation goals by hiring people living in Milford and within 50 miles of Milford Town Hall.

• Use its "best efforts to prioritize annual purchasing of at least $50 million worth of goods and services from Milford and surrounding areas.

• Purchase $50,000 of gift certificates/vouchers from local vendors annually.

These designs, drawn up by Foxwoods Massachusetts' engineers, show the elevations of various views of the final resort casino plans – including how the parking garage structures would look to nearby Wildwood Drive residents.


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