By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO May 16, 2003 Gambling has been a natural topic at many local governmental meetings recently. Two different gaming issues were discussed at a special Sullivan County Legislatures Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, May 8.
Legislature Chair Leni Binder talked of both the formation of a casino mitigation impact committee and a casino coalition.
Binder said that the impact committee would be formed to look at the $15 million mitigation agreement (the payment expected from two separate contracts) and decide how the funds should be dispersed to those communities that will be affected.
Binder stated that people who expect to receive money would not be on the committee. She went on to say that they would determine if they would assign a percentage or a dollar amount for the payments. She asked her fellow lawmakers to think of some people to sit on this committee and, in the meantime, would collect data from the municipalities.
Think of some people who could sit on this committee, Binder asked. We will be dealing with real numbers. We do not have to set the clock running.
We need a small group to meet with the affected groups, offered District 5 Legislator Rodney Gaebel. We need to collect the data and not spend too much time. We cannot mitigate the funds unless their case is proven.
In forming this committee, it was decided a little cleanup was needed. A resolution was introduced to dissolve all prior committees dealing with this issue.
After that, Binder gave an overview of the Catskill Casino Coalition. She stated about 20 groups including the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, and other county and business groups are looking to bring gambling in and want to provide a united voice in Albany and Washington.
To that end, each group is putting in $500 to hire a lobbyist. The resolution to do this at Executive Committee passed 7-1-1. District 1 Legislator Chris Cunningham was opposed, and District 2 Legislator Kathleen LaBuda abstained until she found out more information. It was expected to pass the full board at their meeting yesterday.