By Steven Pinto
Leader Herald Contributor
First let me start off by saying I voted in favor of the casino. I did so based on what our politicians were saying. Lower taxes, jobs, cleaning up of toxic land and a financial wind fall to the city of Everett.
It appears at this point that residents will never see a lower tax rate. Were residents mis-lead? I would have to say yes.
Is it going to be a windfall for Everett? That remains to be seen. If the casino payments to Everett are not budgeted correctly, nothing will change.
Will the mayor begin to pad the budget with lavish pay raises? Will additional friends and family be hired on the city payroll? Will the council allow a powerful mayor do as he sees fit with the casino payments?
City employee salaries and benefits can easily burn a hole in the pockets of taxpayers. Applying casino money to the budget in order to offset taxes and water rates is also a mistake.
If our politicians do not handle the financial windfall carefully, taxes will only continue to rise. Everett residents will see little improvement within the city.
One thing that really hadn’t been addressed is the onslaught of traffic. Only recently have our politicians began to talk about it. Some improvements have taken place. None of these improvements will help alleviate the traffic that is in store for Everett and surrounding communities.
With all that traffic also comes pollution and littered streets.
Over 150 thousand people visited the MGM casino in Springfield on the opening weekend. What would that many people create on the streets of Everett?
MGM in Springfield had a seven mile backup of traffic. Everett is only three square miles. What would such traffic backups do to Everett?
To say the city of Everett and Massachusetts haven’t done enough to deal with traffic is an understatement. Will Everett be paralyzed? Will residents be able to travel without hitting casino gridlock? Should residents plan on staying home when the casino opens.
Why the state didn’t work on getting the commuter rail or orange line to hook up with the casino is beyond me. The Rockport commuter rail already crosses over the the river.
Let’s be honest Everett already has gridlock. So now what will happen? Will traffic keep people from going to the casino? Will fire, police and rescue vehicles be able to get around the city quickly? Were we led blindly into this without careful consideration? The corridor where the casino was built is already s heavily traveled area.
What will happen to property values if the traffic is overwhelming? Who will buy a property in a city that is paralyzed by traffic?
Our leaders haven’t really addressed any of the traffic issues. Other than a ferry service. This is only fraction of what is coming to Everett if the predictions are correct.
The state has plans to reconstruct route one through Saugus and Revere. This is being done to help alleviate potential traffic caused by the casino. Well the state is two years too late. Doing any construction once the casino opens will only cause enormous delays and more traffic.
So even though I voted in favor of the casino there were several untruths and unknowns that our leaders should have been dealing with over the last two years. And one last known fact about the Springfield casino.
There is an article on casino.org stating that crime around the casino increased by 300 percent since it opened last August.