SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The Schenectady City Council will gather Monday to vote to either approve or oppose a casino in the Electric City.
The vote comes after the Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming unveiled its plan to the city a few weeks ago. The Board of Directors from the County Chamber of Commerce unanimously passed a resolution to support the rivers casino and resort at Mohawk Harbor.
City councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said she is for a casino in Schenectady because of the expected 18 percent decrease in property taxes.
“We’re not trying to save our city per se,” she said. “We’re already saving our city, right? So this would just be one more positive thing to move forward.”
Perazzo also said a strong economic development team in the county has done a lot of groundwork and research to prove a casino would be beneficial to the area.
“I think it’s not only just about the casino. I think it’s about the mix of residential and business and entertainment all within that area,” she said.
The Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, would include a 50-boat slip and dock, a casino, a 250 room hotel, and a movie and television studio.
City Councilman Vince Riggi, however, is not sure the 18 percent is achievable. He said without knowing what the project will ultimately cost the city, he cannot give his support to the casino.
“I don’t see how we can really say that we’re going to give an 18 percent tax decrease,” he said. “Again, I’d have to say I’m against the cure for the cancer if I said I’d be against that. Of course I’d be for that.”
The councilman also doesn’t understand why there’s a rush to decide on an issue he called the most important issue the city is facing in his lifetime. He said there haven’t been any public hearings on the issue, and that should raise red flags.
"All that we got was the golden globe that was presented to us last week. That's what we have,” he said. “It was fine. Everybody stood up and cheered, that's fine. But there's cost and effect with everything the way I see it and I don't know what the effect's gonna be yet.”
Riggi isn’t the only Schenectady resident who is hesitant to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to the city. A rally has been scheduled for 7 p.m. outside city hall to urge lawmakers not to gamble on Schenectady’s future.
If the state chooses that site, businesses hope it will boost their bottom line. However, the plans on the casino won't be unveiled until next fall.
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