The City is pleased to announce its proposed selection process for a destination casino resort project. Pursuant to an “Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth,” codified at Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011, a Host Community Agreement is required for a category 1 gaming license in Western Massachusetts.
The City is in the enviable position of having multiple casino companies interested in locating within the City. To obtain the best possible proposal for the City, the Commonwealth and applicable surrounding communities, we have established a two-phase competitive selection process. Through this process, Mayor Sarno, with the advice and assistance of the City’s legal and other consultants and advisors, will select one or more enterprises with whom to negotiate and execute a Host Community Agreement.
The first phase of the competitive selection process will focus on the overall financial suitability of the proposers, their experience and general project concept. The second phase will require more specific information concerning the proposers, their projects and the expected economic benefits the City would receive under a Host Community Agreement.
“It is with great excitement that we kick-off the casino selection process,” said Mayor Sarno. “This much anticipated economic development project will be the largest in the City’s history and means thousands of good paying jobs for our residents, significant opportunities for our business community and sustainable economic benefits for our great City,” the Mayor continued. “I have instructed our City departments and our consultants to conduct an open, fair and robust competitive process that will allow me to choose that project or projects that best meet the City’s selection criteria.”
Between now and September 5, 2012, the date on which the first phase of the selection process is expected to be released, the City administration and its consultants will meet with members of the City Council, the Springfield business community, state legislators and other interested parties to discuss the process and receive comments.
During the selection process, the City expects to host public meetings at which casino developers will make public presentations of their proposals to City residents and at which input will be sought from those residents. The City will also maintain a dedicated casino website at which residents can receive updated information on the developers’ proposals and the selection process.
Although Mayor Sarno will lead the negotiations of any Host Community Agreement, the City Council must approve any Host Community Agreement. The City administration and its consultants will advise the City Council on at least a monthly basis on the selection process and other matters relating to the casino proposals.
The gaming act requires that the final Host Community Agreement and a concise summary of the agreement be published in a periodical of general circulation and be posted on the City’s website no later than seven days after it is signed. In addition, the gaming act requires that the question of whether to locate a gaming establishment in the City be submitted to the voters for their approval.
The City’s proposed selection process is as follows:
· The City’s proposed selection process will be in two phases.
· Phase I, expected to commence September 5, 2012, will seek to pre-qualify enterprises based on a variety of criteria including financial suitability, experience, and project concept. Those responders who meet the City’s qualification criteria will then be invited to participate in the City’s Phase II selection process.
· Phase II, expected to commence in early October 2012, will ask all proposers to address how their proposed project will assist the City in achieving the following core goals: (i) making a significant and lasting contribution to the City and the Commonwealth and increasing sustainable economic benefits from tourism and conventions; (ii) being a catalyst for additional economic development in the City; (iii) creating good paying jobs and new employment opportunities for City residents; (iv) utilizing local and small business suppliers and vendors, including minority business enterprises, women business enterprises and veteran business enterprises; (v) utilizing the City’s existing entertainment venues; (vi) mitigating any adverse impacts of the project on the City and surrounding communities; and (vii) providing additional revenues for the City. It is expected that the project will be competitively unique, providing a standard of service and excellence that will be known throughout the Northeast region of the United States.
· Through the selection process, which the City expects to be completed in mid-December 2012, the Mayor will select one or more enterprises with whom to negotiate and execute a Host Community Agreement.
· Upon the successful conclusion of those negotiations, targeted for the end of January 2013, the final Host Community Agreement or Agreements will be submitted to the City Council for approval.
· Any Host Community Agreement will be published and posted no later than seven days after signing and the question of locating the project in the City will be submitted to the City’s voters no earlier than 60 and no more than 90 days after a request for such vote is made by the gaming license applicant.
· It is anticipated that this ballot question will be voted on sometime in Spring 2013.