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County puts its weight behind casino idea

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - Updated: 8:13 PM

By CAROLINE MURRAY

For the C-S-E

FONDA -- The Montgomery County Legislature adopted a resolution Tuesday in support of siting a casino in the county.

All legislators in attendance voted yes, except District 1's Martin Kelly.

District 3 Legislator Roy Dimond was absent.

Kelly said he is not against improving the county's economy, but wants to take a closer look at the impact a casino could have.

"I understand that the way the resolution is written that it supposedly allows us to reconsider the issue if a site is chosen, however my feeling is when the state or federal government see that we favor something they tend to overstep a local government," Kelly said.

According to the resolution, the legislature has "received calls and emails of support for a commercial casino operation in the county" and the board supports it because of its potential economic benefits.

Kenneth Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, said he was happy with the vote.

Rose said officials are currently in contact with a few developers, but declined to release any names or potential costs of such a project.

"We will continue to engage with the groups that we have been engaging with, and go from there," Rose said.

Mick Mullins, a broker from Mullins Realty, is promoting a pair of properties along Route 30 near the border of the city of Amsterdam and the town of Florida as a potential casino site.

The properties comprise 512 acres with road frontage bordering the southern side of the state Thruway near Amsterdam's Exit 27.

Monday night, the Florida town council approved a similar resolution, as did the Amsterdam Common Council earlier this month.

In November's election, New Yorkers overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution legalizing non-Indian casino gambling.

The general election vote in Montgomery County swung the same way, with 56 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed.

County Executive Matthew Ossenfort favors the construction of a casino in the area. He said there is more local support than some of the other competitors looking to host a casino in their county.

"I think it is one of the things that sets us apart," said Ossenfort.

     

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