By Josh Resnek
There is a great deal of speculation about what exactly happens if the casino does not open on time.
How are the city’s finances effected, if at all, if the casino opensseveral months later than expected?
Doss the city survive such a disruptive financial eventuality and isit prepared to deal with that reality?
These questions were asked by Councilor Mike Marchese and answered by the mayor Monday night.
Marchese’s questions were more clear than the mayor’s answers, which seemed tepid.
Marchese called the situation right now “worrisome.”
The mayor lost it a bit at this point, complaining rather loudly andwith animus about the Leader Herald fighting the resort and fightingagainst against the city of Everett.
On the one hand, the mayor said the city can stand on its own.
He said the city hadn’t factored in any expected revenues from the casino in the new budget being formed.
On the other hand, he said there will be no extra money for the public schools whether or not the money comes in.
He referenced having to give the public schools about $12.5 millionlast year, a situation he said, “Won’t be happening ever again.”
“There is new leadership and that won’t happen,” he added.
“I am searching for ways to cut spending – combining some jobs -looking here and there,” he said.
The councillors all agreed. This is a lean year while awaiting the opening of the casino.
The mayor said the city is holding about $6 million in free cash and that he’s already working on the budget while at the same time trying to trim it.
“I’m looking everywhere,” he said, in reference to trimming it.This was juxtaposed against the fact that if the casino opens – and it will open – the city will be awash with money. Of course, Marchese and his colleagues have heard the mayor sing this tune before.
The city received almost $30 million in extra funds from the casino last year and has not a dime of it remaining in the city treasury. Where did it all go?
The mayor didn’t answer that question.
During this discussion Councilor Wayne Matewsky leveled a charge at the casino.
“I didn’t get a Christmas card from those people,” he complained. “Well its a very regulated industry,” the mayor said.
“What does that mean?” Matewsky replied. “Something is not right with these people,” he added.
“I haven’t been treated properly and I don’t like it,” he said. ‘What are you talking about its a very regulated industry?”
“What does that mean to me and how they treat me?” he asked. The mayor said he very firmly believes the casino will open on time and that Encore will be the owner of the property when the doors swing open.
As to finding extra money if the casino doesn’t open on time, the mayor said that the owners of the LNG facility across from the casino site are also in line for a whopping new tax bill because their assessment will be going up dramatically.
“Their assessment will be more than $1 billion dollars,” he said, implying that their tax bill, presently $15 million a year will be going up toward the sky.