Mashpee Tribe, Taunton Strike A Deal
By: Geoff Spillane
The city of Taunton may have hit a jackpot that could eventually result in a cash winfall of more than $25 million per year for hosting a casino within its borders.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe earlier today announced that it has reached an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Taunton for the development of a destination resort casino to be located at the intersections of Routes 24 and 140.
According to a news release, the tribe will provide the city with an up-front mitigation payment of $33 million, and a minimum annual payment of approximately $13 million. The tribe has also agreed to share 2.05 percent of slot revenue, but not less than $8 million per year with the city.
Major highlights of the agreement between the tribe and city include:
- Payment in lieu of taxes for land to be taken into trust of $250,000 per year, with a 3 percent increase for the first 10 years of the agreement;
- A general mitigation payment of $1.5 million within 30 days of approval of the compact between the tribe and the state;
- More than $16 million in initial mitigation payments to cover public safety, utilities, and school enhancements and increased operating costs, to be followed by an annual mitigation payment of nearly $5 million per year;
- Payment of $15 million for mitigation of traffic impacts;
- And, funding for compulsive gambling services.
The tribe has also agreed to adopt stringent building, health, and safety codes, as well as make a good faith attempt to hire local residents and purchase products and services from local vendors.
The forging of an IGA represents a significant milestone in the tribe's efforts to meet a state-mandated July 31 deadline to ensure it maintains its preferred status to receive a gaming license in the Southeastern Massachusetts region.
Next steps in the process include a non-binding referendum vote on June 9 to gauge voter interest in having Taunton be host city for the casino, as well as formalization of a revenue sharing and regulatory compact agreement with Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick.
Read tomorrow's edition of the Enterprise for additional details and reaction to the agreement.