By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO November 9, 2001 On the same day that New York State Governor George Pataki signed an omnibus gambling package into law allowing Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at Monticello Raceway and up to three casinos to be built in the county, Village of Monticello Mayor Gary Sommers sent out a letter to Thompson Planning Board Chairman James Lyttle requesting that the Monticello Village Board be named the lead agency for the Akwasasne Mohawk Mountain Resort and Casino at Kutsher's Country Club.
Citing numerous, wide-reaching impacts and prior experience with casinos, the letter listed nine reasons for why the village should be designated the lead agency.
The letter and the signing of the gaming bill into law were discussed at the Village of Monticello's board meeting on Monday, November 5.
Board member Michael Levinson did not know about the letter until right before the meeting. He took offense to the fact that the letter represented the board even though, he claimed, at least three members did not see it.
Sommers responded that he wanted attention drawn to the village and was looking out for its best interests.
On a similar topic, Sommers stated that he had spoken to Cliff Erlich from Monticello Raceway, which will have a business plan for the VLTs ready in three months. The raceway is willing to work with the village to mitigate some of the anticipated increase in traffic.
Board member Jim Barnicle suggested that the board sit down with racetrack officials and get them to talk to Park Place. He would like Catksill Development to abandon their lawsuit, work with Park Place, and bring the casino back to the racetrack. With approval already given to the track by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, it could speed up the building of a casino.
All on the board agreed that they wanted to be kept informed on what was going on, and they were promised by Sommers that they would be in the loop.