County leaders support casino bid

JOHNSTOWN – A Fulton County Board of Supervisors committee on Tuesday voted to support a casino development project proposed in Montgomery County.

The full board will consider the proposed support resolution at its April 14 meeting at the County Office Building.

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead told the board’s Economic Development-Environment Committee that Montgomery County asked its neighbor to the north to support the project.

“We received a formal request from the Montgomery County executive and legislature,” Stead said.

He said the Montgomery County Legislature recently passed a resolution supporting location of a commercial casino in its county. He said that resolution indicated the legislature believes a casino within its county would “provide a positive economic climate for their county, as well as Fulton County.”

Ken Rose, director of Montgomery County’s Business Development Center, is spearheading the casino effort. He said he’s been working with Mick Mullins, a licensed real estate broker of Mullins Realty in Slingerlands, and an undisclosed property developer.

Mullins has been promoting a pair of properties off Route 30 for the potential casino. The land totals 512 acres – 341 in the city of Amsterdam and town of Florida owned by the Nadler Brothers and 171 in the town of Florida owned by Larry Francisco. The properties straddle Route 30 just south of the Thruway.

Stead said developers have approached six of eight counties in the Capital Region to build a “Turning Stone-type” casino, and the state will only choose one site. Surrounding counties will get revenue from the site selected.

Stead said there has been no interest in Fulton County. He said these are not county projects, rather private sector developers working with real estate firms.

County Planning Director James Mraz said any developer who wants to submit an application must pay a $1 million application fee by April 23. The applications themselves are due June 30, he said. Mraz said the state will decide in the fall which casino is granted a license.

The Economic Development-Environment Committee decided 7-1 to support the Montgomery County site. Only Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, committee chairman, was opposed, saying Fulton County has to look at the bigger picture regarding potential revenue for itself.

He said Fulton County may want to wait to see if it wants to back a different county, which may have a better chance of getting the casino, which ultimately would generate more money for Fulton County.

Gendron said the state will get 80 percent of the casino revenue, the host county 10 percent, and the other 10 percent is shared by surrounding counties. He said there may be no residual Fulton County jobs coming from the Montgomery County casino.

Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter said the developer in Albany County that owns the potential casino land there is bringing in the Capital District Off-Track Betting Corp. for potentially more revenue.

“That partnership concerns me – OTB with a casino,” Gendron said.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.