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With the date drawing closer to a referendum on any proposed casino in Springfield, the City Council’s self-anointed Casino Site Committee heard from casino consultant Shefsky & Froelich Inc. last week on how best to allocate Host Agreement funding for community investments.
According to a story in the Republican by Jack Flynn, Shefsky & Froelich attorney Cezar M. Froelich informed the committee that the Host Agreement currently being drafted by the city would have casino developers providing a lump sum payment to the city, as opposed to the alternative that many had previously in mind, a dispersal of funds to various community projects directly.
“The [requests for funding] were 30 or 40 when we stopped counting,” said Froelich of the individual requests for funding, according to Flynn’s story.
Instead, the city is going with a lump sum payment by developers (upon approval of a license) that would then be disbursed by the Mayor and City Council, said Froelich.
According to the article, many city councilors were taken by surprise by the decision, since several specific projects that had previously been earmarked would now be omitted from the Agreement.
City Councilor Tim Rooke, meanwhile, took the discussion a step further by proposing that instead of the city spending the monies on pet projects, the funds go instead to providing tax relief to the city’s taxpayers.
Said Rooke in a follow-up email: “I suggested that the most equitable distribution of any indirect funds from a casino developer should go directly to lower the tax burden for each of the tax payers and not to special interest projects of any elected official or group.”
That’s sure to stick in the craw of more than a few city councilors who surely have other, more needy plans for pot o’ gold on the horizon.