The Menominee Tribe’s gaming authority has been given permission by the Kenosha City Council to move forward with the construction of a Hard Rock Casino, marking a significant decision. Eleven council members voted in favor and six against the crucial decision, which was made during a protracted three-hour meeting that attracted a large number of spectators.
Rollin Pizzala, Keith Rosenberg, Curt Wilson, Jack Rose, Bill Siel, Rocco LaMacchia, David Bogdala, Ruth Dyson, Daniel Prozanski, Anthony Kennedy, and Keith Rosenberg cast the yes votes. On the other hand, the planned casino project was opposed by Dominic Ruffalo, Holly Kangas, Kelly MacKay, David Mau, Eric Haugaard, and Jan Michalski.
As a project proponent, Prozanski made an effort to soothe opponents’ worries by pointing out that the project’s prospective risks—such as increased crime and property devaluation—were overstated. “We are buying sixty acres. No one is getting sixty acres from us. This is significant,” Prozanski declared.
Strongly opposed Kangas expressed her doubts about Hard Rock’s commitment, pointing to what she saw as a track record of unfulfilled promises and unease in the neighborhood. “The people of the 4th District have asked me to be a ‘no’ vote tonight,” she said.
Tax Exemptions and Revenue-Based Payments
According to the authorized intergovernmental agreement, there will be no municipal property taxes applied to the casino site. Rather, the City of Kenosha will be paid according to the amount of money the casino makes from gambling. Hard Rock’s regional president, Matt Schuffert, projects that the casino brings in between $250 million and $295 million a year.
The deal calls for quarterly payments to the city equal to around 3% of net earnings. There are further clauses that increase yearly payouts from $100,000 to $2.5 million in the event that the casino’s net win revenues in a particular year fall short of a certain threshold. The duration of these payments is 20 years, with renegotiations taking place every ten years.
It is projected that the casino project will have a major economic impact on the area. According to Union Labours, when the casino opens for business, it will generate over 1,000 permanent employment in addition to over 800 positions during the two-year building period.
The County Board of Supervisors will evaluate their agreement with the Menominee Tribe on January 16th, which is the next step in the process. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs will then review the plan before sending it to the governor for final approval.
Mayor John Antaramian noted the vote’s possible benefits for the town while expressing his happiness with the outcome. The Menominee Tribe needs this permission in order to move forward with their request to the U.S. Department of the Interior to have the planned land placed in federal trust.
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