Town officials in Longmeadow said they were submitting a petition to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Wednesday. Town Manager Stephen Crane said they are asking to be designated a surrounding community after talks fell through with MGM.
MGM rejected a proposal by the town for a nearly $1 million up-front payment and $500,000 annually. That amount was much more than what several other surrounding communities already agreed to.
Crane said town leaders based their proposal on hard numbers from a traffic study. He said the study showed Longmeadow would be impacted the most by a casino being built in neighboring Springfield. He stated their proposal was more in line with what other cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts were being offered.
Crane pointed out that initially MGM was going to use the traffic study as a basis for community agreements, then changed midway through the negotiations. He characterized the change as MGM moving the goal post. Crane said MGM wanted to use what is called a "look back" instead of an up-front payment based on the traffic study.
MGM released the following statement to CBS 3 attributed to Michael Mathis, Vice President of Global Gaming Development, MGM Resorts stating, "MGM and its representatives have worked hard to come to what we believe is a fair surrounding community agreement with Longmeadow. Our proposal to the town was similar to the terms we have reached with other neighboring communities, while their counteroffer was almost eight times these amounts. We have requested information that may explain the basis for their counterproposal, but to date we have not received any substantiating evidence from the town."
Longmeadow has until Monday, Jan. 13 to submit their petition to the gaming commission. Crane said he wished the two sides had been able to come to an agreement without having to go to this level.
The commission is scheduled to discuss the petition by the end of January and have a decision by the first week of February. If Longmeadow is designated as a surrounding community, they will have 30 days to reach an agreement with MGM. If none is reached, they will have to go through arbitration.
There is a slim chance Longmeadow could walk away with nothing, but Crane said that scenario was highly unlikely.
Copyright 2014 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.