The Herald News, Thursday, March 27, 2014 - Page A1
Mayor touts draft of host community pact with Foxwoods
By Jo C. Goode
Fall River - With a draft of the proposed host community agreement with Foxwoods Resort
Casino and the investment group Crossroads Massachusetts LLC in hand, Mayor Will Flanagan
said his goal is to have the signed compact before the City Council by April 8.
“My goal is to have it by the council’s first meeting in April to set an election date,” Flanagan
said. “I hope to hold it in mid-June as we set forth an aggressive timeline.”
Kenneth Fiola Jr., vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, said once
the agreement is completed, the community will have a clearer understanding of the project and
its benefits to the city, including how Foxwoods will provide mitigation and the number of jobs it
will be required to offer.
Last week, Fiola and Flanagan held a public forum outlining the process for Foxwoods to apply
for a license in Region C, which includes Bristol, Plymouth, Nantucket, Dukes and Barnstable
If Fall River residents approve the referendum, Foxwoods has until July 23 to submit an
application to the Gaming Commission.
It is unclear when residents will have an opportunity to see plans and details of what is purported
to be a $750 million destination resort casino to be built on the grounds of the New Harbour
David Nunes, Foxwoods’ chief development officer, did not return telephone calls.
While waiting to review the host community agreement, the Board of Directors of the Fall River
Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry passed along a list of suggestions to Flanagan and
Fiola of what should be included in the agreement to best support the city, businesses and the
region, chamber President Robert Mellion said.
Among the chamber’s recommendations are offering Fall River residents 20 percent of the job
vacancies and offering an additional 50 to 75 percent to residents in Swansea, Somerset,
Westport, Lakeville and Tiverton - all communities within a 15-mile radius of the casino that
would be affected by the project, Mellion said.
Among the chamber’s other recommendations: Foxwoods would spend $7 million for goods and
services from city vendors and $35 million to vendors in a 15-mile radius; an education impact
fee of $2 million annually to help the school department reduce class sizes; and a program for
payment in lieu of taxes in which Foxwoods would pay the city a fixed amount annually with a
2.5 percent yearly increase and a percentage transferred to an account to help reduce taxes for
residents and businesses.
At this time, the chamber neither endorses nor opposes the Foxwoods project, said Mellion, and
will hold off on its decision until the final agreement is released.