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Springfield City Council Approves Host Agreement

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the city council met Friday night to discuss and vote on the host agreement with MGM.

Our crew on scene reports that the City Council voted unanimously at about 7:00 p.m. in support of the host agreement.

In a statement sent to ABC40 tonight, MGM representative Michael Mathis had this to say:

“MGM is grateful to Springfield’s City Council for ratifying the HCA and joining with Mayor Domenic Sarno and a growing team of community leaders as we move forward in a unified way to bring a world-class resort and entertainment destination to Downtown Springfield.  The enthusiasm expressed by people across the city every day reinforces the momentum that will continue to build as we move to the next step in this process: a public referendum in mid-July. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with the people of this great city, so together we can build a stronger Springfield.”

On Monday, Springfield City Council President James Ferrera invoked Rule 20 during a city council meeting.

That rule effectively ended debate on the agreement Monday and forces city officials to provide a full cost analysis on the project before any more discussion takes place.

Then on Wednesday, Ferrera sent a letter to Sarno and MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle asking that a sentence be added to the agreement, explicitly outlining a dollar value of MGM’s investment in the city.

Ferrera noted that a similar sentence had been added in the agreement reached between the City of Everett and Steve Wynn for a proposed project in that city.

However, later Wednesday, Springfield’s casino consultant Cezar Forehlich released a statement saying that “While we believe the ultimate cost of the project will be $800 million or more, we are more interested in making sure MGM builds what it promised and we are confident it will.” He adds that “…the City of Springfield chose to have the safeguard of having MGM build what it promised regardless of the cost.”

With the passage by the city council, the casino proposal will now go before a citywide binding referendum vote, which city leaders will occur in July.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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