Casino review process burdens city, taxpayers
To the editor:
Opening the door to reviewing casino proposals should be a real concern to all Holyoke residents.
The process of review will tie up enormous amounts of money and time of our public officials and billable hours of city employees — time and money better spent on addressing our problems directly.
Some might say, that’s exactly what building a casino is supposed to provide, right?”
Not exactly. Because they tend to be expansive development projects, casinos will require a larger cost and benefit evaluation related to zoning, environment and property than, say, a big-box store. And this is just the review process. While we are spending all this time and money, we are not receiving any revenue. Even if the city gets the go-ahead for a casino, it will take years to build before Holyoke would see any revenue.
There is more “mitigation” required than almost any other industry because of the amount of likely negatives such as increased crime, drugs, gambling addiction and lower property values.
The developers tend to be wealthy, out-of-state people who use divide and conquer techniques that leave communities so distraught it can takes years to recover. Casino proponent Eric Suher lives here, but his backers do not. They are big-time gaming developers.
In Pennsylvania, when a casino proposal was denied, the developer filed an appeal against a city, and when that was denied, he took it to the state’s supreme court, wasting taxpayer money in legal fees. All that just in the review process, folks.