Springfield mayor reacts to delayed casino vote - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Springfield mayor reacts to delayed casino vote

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

On Monday night, City Council President James Ferrera stepped in and delayed the council's vote pertaining to MGM's community host agreement.

On Tuesday, Mayor Domenic Sarno told CBS 3 that all the people that could have answered the questions Ferrera raised were at the meeting.

"We were ready to answer any and all questions last night," Sarno said. "The entire city team was there, the consulting team, MGM was there."

Ferrera delayed the vote by invoking Rule 20, which allows any city councilor to call upon the city auditor to provide specific financial analysis in writing about the exact benefits and impact of the casino company's host agreement.

"Quite frankly, I have some questions with regards to some of the issues in the document and I think they need to be addressed," Ferrera said.

Ferrera cites discrepancies between what the council was promised and what is actually laid out in the host agreement. Specifically, he points to the agreement not providing a commitment to the $852 million total project amount promised by MGM.

"We were ready last night. All the proper officials and individuals were in that room last night to answer any and all questions pertaining to the host agreement," Sarno said.

The mayor, as well as MGM officials, hopes to put a casino question on the ballot in the city by mid-July. In order to do so, the City Council must first approve the agreement. A minimum of 60 days is required from when the agreement is approved by the council to when it can go before the voters.

"I think asking for more time for clarification is the reasonable and logical thing to do," Ferrera said.

"Right now, again, we are more than happy again to answer any and all questions the City Council might have and we are very hopeful that they will call a meeting this week," Sarno said.

Michael Mathis, MGM's vice president of global gaming development, had this to say about the City Council's decision to delay the vote:

"We participated in an extensive negotiation with the city and its consultants over all of the terms of the HCA. The city requested, and we agreed, to make several important improvements to our original concept. The process underway now provides the City Council with an opportunity to ask questions and for the city and its consultants to provide any needed information. We're confident the city will be fully prepared to address any questions during Friday's meeting."

A special City Council meeting is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m.

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