Connecticut’s proposed East Windsor casino has been the source of plenty of controversy, speculation, and headlines. In most recent news, a bill was signed into law by Connecticut’s governor, Daniel Malloy, and the bill is stirring the pot yet again. The bill, in so many words, states that the two tribes behind the casino project (Pequot and Mohegans) must set aside $4.5 million on an annual basis. The $4.5 million that will be set aside will serve the purpose of financially aiding nearby communities that will have to deal with the added traffic and other monetary burdens the new casino will present.
While this may sound like a good idea and a nice bill to have signed into law, one town is not very happy about it, primarily because they are left out of the bill altogether. The town of Windsor, which is directly to the west of East Windsor (where the casino will stand), was left out of the $4.5 million sum for reasons that have not been made explicitly clear. As you might expect, the mayor and citizens of Windsor are not at all pleased with the governor’s approving of this bill.
The bill that Governor Malloy signed into law creates a special fund whereby the two tribes will be mandated to deposit $4.5 million annually. That lump sum will be broken down into 6 $750,000 shares that will then be shipped off to 6 local communities—Hartford, East Hartford, Enfield, South Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Ellington.
If you are unfamiliar with Connecticut geography, you will find that the communities included in the bill are either home to a highway (or set of highways) that will be main travel routes for casino-goers, or have been labelled as distressed communities. In this scenario, the distressed communities may not be directly connected to the casino, but they are within a close enough proximity that their already dire financial situations will be made even worse with any amount of increased traffic. So, in a sense, the monetary distribution of these funds makes sense in that it really only goes to those neighborhoods affected by the casino’s construction and presumed operations.
Understandably, the mayor of Windsor, Donald Trinks, is befuddled by his town’s absence in the bill. After all, Windsor is just as close (if not closer) than many of the towns that were named in the bill. With that being said, there is no major highway corridor that connects the town of Windsor to the proposed tribal casino. Combine that fact with the above average financial standing of most Windsor residents and it becomes a little bit clearer as to why the town was left out of the bill.
There is no word as to whether the town of Windsor will take their displeasure with the bill to the legal circuit, but if I were a betting man I would say that that is more than likely. It is not only the presumed increase in traffic that spurred the creation of the bill. No matter what way you slice it, emergency services such as police, ambulance, and fire companies will all be impact in some way by the casino’s creation. The $750,000 these communities receive annually is meant to offset that cost. How, exactly, the determination to exclude Windsor from the bill was made has yet to be articulated, but the abovementioned reasons are what most people are pointing to in the initial wake of this bill’s being signed.