The Everett Common Council took up the call to have Mayor Carlo DeMaria convene a Joint Convention to discuss the parameters of a possible host agreement between the city of Everett and Wynn Casinos in support of the developers application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission earlier this month.
However, in the interim Assistant City Solicitor David Rodrigues attempted to answer questions for the council as best he could, while assuring the council that the Mayor has every intention of involving the city’s legislative branch when the time is right.
“The next thing that will happen is that the Gaming Commission will complete a review of the proposals they have received and determine which ones they believe are viable,” explained Rodrigues.
That initial review is expected to be completed sometime in late Spring or early summer of this year, at which time some of the casino proposals that have been entered with the state may be eliminated. If the Wynn/Everett proposal proceeds from that first review, the developers will then have to sign a host agreement with Everett, as well as impacted community agreements with whichever communities are adjudged to be impacted communities by the Gaming Commission and have a positive vote on the casino project by voters in the host community.
“The Mayor has said that we will give you all the information we have as soon as we have it,” noted Rodrigues.
The problem is that right now the city is in more of a fact finding phase.
The developers have provided no renderings or details of their proposed project to the city and because the casino proposal only surfaced about two months ago, Rodrigues and the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development James Errickson are having to research potential issues, host agreements and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as they go. Meanwhile, the city’s competitors for the lone gaming license in eastern Massachusetts have had two to four years to prepare their proposals and start work on host agreements.
According to Rodrigues, the city is expecting to have site plans and renderings of the proposed resort casino development “within the next few weeks,” at which time the Mayor intends to share those plans with the council and Board of Aldermen.
In the meantime, the Council and Aldermen are trying to determine what the best approach for discussing potential negotiations would be. Several councilors and aldermen have asked the Mayor to convene a Joint Convention to share this information publicly and allow a discussion among the city’s elected officials. While other councilors have suggested that such a meeting should take place with an eye toward including public comment in the process.
No matter which way the city moves forward with the negotiations and sharing of information, Everett voters will have the final say, and Rodrigues indicated that the vote will have to take place during this calendar year, likely by fall of 2013, in order to be approved by the state.