Respect local opinion
State officials may be willing to gamble that a casino will boost Montgomery County’s fortunes, but local residents should have a say in whether their municipality should take part in the game.
Economic development officials in Montgomery County recently indicated they are hoping municipalities will support efforts to bring a casino into the county. The county is one of those in the Capital Region that can be considered for a casino after voters statewide approved a measure last year allowing the establishments.
There are millions of reasons for the county to want a casino. A report estimated the regional fiscal effect a casino would have on the Capital Region is $35.5 million annually, which includes $11.4 million in host county aid.
Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, noted a broker is promoting a pair of properties off Route 30 for a possible casino. The land is in the city of Amsterdam and the town of Florida.
Rose has requested resolutions to support the project from the county legislature, the town of Florida and the city of Amsterdam.
The county does seem to have hope of landing a casino. Some Saratoga County residents fiercely oppose a casino. Their county was the presumed site for such an establishment given the existence of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
However, the opinions of residents in the town of Florida and the city of Amsterdam should be respected.
State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, whose district includes Montgomery County, is a sponsor of a bill that could make sure the state does that. The proposed bill would require that local support for the siting of a casino in a municipality be demonstrated through the passage of a local law or resolution in support of the siting.
The measure makes sense.
If county officials find they lack support in a municipality, they should consider another site for the casino.