The referendum of East Windsor voters that took place on October 24th fuelled some controversy after local people overwhelmingly rejected a new casino project. The referendum, which was held a fortnight ahead of the November election, saw two ballot questions regarding the casino which is aimed to be established by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.
Selectman Jason Bowsza described the local voters’ decision as a “pretty clear signal” that they want to see projects which would be beneficial for the local community in “a more thoughtful way”.
The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have been trying to get permission to establish a casino venue on a site in close proximity to I-91. The two Native American tribes have agreed to pay $3 million to East Windsor for such permission and said they would continue to make annual impact payments when the casino is up and running.
According to some of East Windsor selectmen, the money should be spent to support projects that would be directly affected by the addition of the casino in the city, along with public safety. According to Selectman Charles Szymanski, the tribal casino proposal was an important step of the local voters’ referendum that could eventually end up creating a framework for casino money spending.
Referendum Vote Fuelled Some Controversy on Casino-Related Issues
Voters had to decide whether or not a “Casino Impact Fund” should be created. As mentioned above, the two Indian tribes that are seeking to establish an East Windsor casino venue would make an initial $3-million payment which would be included in the fund.
The local voters also had to decide whether to approve an ordinance under which money spending within the fund would be spent.
The referendum, however, fuelled some controversy. As explained by a local resident, three ballot changes are not supporting East Windsor for the time being, so a change is obviously necessary. On the other hand, as far as the casino proposal is concerned, no final decision on the project has been made yet. As the first selectman revealed for a local media, there are still several lawsuits that have to be finalized before any construction process for the casino begins. The two tribes have already received federal approval for the proposed casino, which is currently being objected by MGM.
As mentioned above, the referendum was held only two weeks ahead of the local election, which is set to see a long list of items to be considered by local voters. In any case, the next board would have to decide on some issued associated with the casino project of the two Indian tribes. It also seems that the new select board would have a part in setting up the “Casino Impact Fund” after the election takes place in November.