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County committee takes a step in direction of casino proposal

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - Updated: 10:26 AM


FONDA -- The Economic Development and Planning Committee of the Montgomery County Legislature has given their support to the potential siting of a casino in the county.

The action took place during a committee meeting Tuesday.

District 5 Legislator Terry Bieniek expressed concern about local municipalities agreeing to allow a casino in their back yard.

But Kenneth Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, assured him that the resolution does not specify a single municipality, even thought land in the town of Florida has been mentioned as a potential location.

Mick Mullins, a broker from Mullins Realty, is promoting a pair of properties along Route 30 near the border of the city of Amsterdam and the town of Florida as a potential casino site for sale. The two properties have separate long-time owners and are mostly comprised of open farm land with few neighbors, Mullins said.

The properties comprise a 512-acre site with road frontage bordering the southern side of the state Thruway near Amsterdam's Exit 27.

"The town supervisor is in favor," Rose said. "It will go to their board at the end of the month, then to the city of Amsterdam for discussion."

Town of Florida Supervisor Eric Mead has spoken to quite a few local residents and said all the talk is positive.

"My plan is to sponsor a resolution on the Feb. 24 meeting that the town of Florida is in favor of it, if we are chosen to have a casino here," Mead said.

Rose emphasized that there may be other possible locations besides Florida.

District 7 Legislator Barbara Wheeler is very much in favor. She said that a casino would be a great asset to Montgomery County.

In November's election, New Yorkers overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution legalizing non-Indian casino gambling.

The general election vote in Montgomery County swung the same way, with 56 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed.

Montgomery County is one of eight counties in the capital region that is being considered for the siting of a casino.

District 9 Legislator Alexander Kuchis said he went back and looked at how all of the voters stood in his district and that the majority of them were in favor.

"I also did a lot of interviews," Kuchis said. "Not just of people in my district, but people in the county, and I've gotten a 100 percent approval rating."

County Executive Matthew Ossenfort supports the casino idea and he encouraged the county legislature to as well.

"Local support is very important in beginning discussions," Ossenfort said. "It's an opportunity that we need to consider."


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