Casino Vote Could Have Local Significance

Casino Vote Could Have Local Significance

Assemblyman Joe Morelle will be watching to see how local residents vote on statewide referendum.
Assemblyman Joe Morelle will be watching November's statewide vote on a casino expansion closely. The referendum would allow several non-Indian casinos. 

None would be located in Rochester, as the Seneca Nation has the rights for Western New York. But with the Senecas exploring separate casino deals with local developers David Flaum and Scott Congel, Morelle said getting a grasp on local support is important. He will see how Monroe County residents vote.

"There's no question that will give us at least an indication," said Morelle during an appearance on News 8 First at 4. "It will certainly tell us how people's views are generally about state gaming and then I think we can infer some things about that as it relates to Indian gaming as well." 

In order for the Senecas to open a casino in the Rochester area, the tribe's state compact would have to be amended, state lawmakers would have to give their approval and the federal government would have to sign off.

On Friday, Congel will meet with the Town of Irondequoit, East Irondequoit School District and the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. Congel owns Medley Centre and is in default of his payment in lieu of taxes agreement. He has not met the required benchmarks for investment. The government entities hope to hammer out a revised PILOT agreement that ensures development will continue. Congel is expected to ask for a clause prohibiting a casino to be taken out. 

Congel has asked for state help on the mall redevelopment. He wanted sales tax incremental financing, meaning he wants to use sales tax receipts generated at the mall to pay off construction bonds. It's not clear if that proposal is still alive.

Morelle said he could support state financing if he sees investment in the mall.

"It could garner some state support, but it would be wrong for anybody to assume the vast majority of money would come from the State of New York or from any government. This really has to come from the private sector."

To watch our interview with Morelle, click on the video above.

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