Town of Amsterdam on board Casino proposal is still gaining support locally


TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- A casino siting proposal in eastern Montgomery County continues to garner support from local elected leaders.

The Amsterdam town council passed a resolution Wednesday to support the construction of a casino on land near the Thruway and Amsterdam city line in the town of Florida.

"We have been a depressed area for some time. The mills are gone and the jobs are gone. This would be an economic boon to this area," Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said.

According to the resolution, the board supports the siting of a casino in the county "based on the positive economic and fiscal benefits."

"It's going to be good for the county job-wise and tax-wise," board member Kenneth Krutz said. "Jobs are something we need in the area."

The Hagaman village board passed a similar resolution Tuesday, adding support to a growing list that already includes the Montgomery County Legislature, the Amsterdam Common Council, the Florida town council, the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, and more.

The proposal is also garnering support from neighbors in Fulton County. A resolution is expected to appear before the board of supervisors there, and the city of Gloversville is also discussing potential support.

Local support is one of the conditions of filing an application with the state Gaming Commission's casino siting board, which put out requests for applications for four upstate casinos at the end of March.

The four casinos will be located in the Catskills, the capital region and the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes regions. One area can get two casinos.

Montgomery County is one of eight counties being considered as a potential site.

While the developer interested in building a casino in Montgomery County has yet to be named, county Economic Development and Planning Department Director Kenneth Rose said things are progressing.

"They are still interested in pursuing a casino," Rose said last week. "We are working with them and things are moving forward."

Rose anticipates the group considering Montgomery County will be among those submitting a $1 million application fee April 23, after which the process should pick up speed.

A mandatory conference for applicants will be held in Albany April 30.

Applications need to be in by June 30. Selections will be made in the fall.

However, Rose said that once the developer submits his application, there will be a public announcement, and plans will be unveiled at that time.

At that point, the local permitting process will begin, Rose said.

While it has not been finalized, Rose expects the developer to go before the city of Amsterdam and town of Florida planning boards to gauge reaction from the local communities, and see what issues they may face.

"It's going to be an important part of this whole thing. During this review phase, if one of these sites start running into opposition by a planning board, or by some type of other governmental board, it is going to weigh heavily on the siting commission decision," Rose said. "It is a local control decision, so one board could derail a very important economic development project for the region."

Mick Mullins, a broker from Mullins Realty, is promoting a pair of properties along Route 30 near the boarder of the city of Amsterdam and the town of Florida as a potential casino site. The properties comprise a 512-acre site with road frontage bordering the southern side of the state Thruway near Amsterdam's Exit 27.

New York voters in November passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.