May 22, 2013

Cuomo, St. Regis Mohawk leaders sign casino pact



“I commend the collaborative spirit in which all parties came together to forge this agreement.”

The anticipated payment also means Franklin County may not have to borrow $4 million it was planning to seek to meet tax-warrant obligations to local school districts and municipalities.

“The bottom line is we should be able to meet our obligations in unpaid taxes,” said County Treasurer Bryon Varin. “And I’m pleased we will continue revenue sharing to help real-property owners in Franklin County.

“I applaud Gov. Cuomo for bringing a resolution to this for the state, people in Franklin County and the Mohawk people,” he said. 


The other half of the withheld money will remain in escrow, as the state, impacted towns and the Mohawks try to settle a longstanding land-claim dispute involving parcels in what is known as the Bombay Triangle.

Talks are expected to begin in about 10 days, the release said.

Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance praised Cuomo, saying, “We’ve waited many years for a governor who was willing to sit down with all the parties to the land claim to come to a negotiated settlement.

“Gov. Cuomo has accomplished much in the short time we’ve been meeting directly with him,” he said. “He has given us assurances that our outstanding issues will be dealt with fairly.”

The Cuomo administration has proposed three new upstate casinos, and, last week, reached an agreement that would keep them out of the central New York area, where the Oneida Tribe has an operation of its own.

The State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment last year legalizing up to seven casinos. It must be passed again this year or in 2014 and then go to public referendum.

Earlier this year, Essex County had expressed interest in possibly having one of them located there.

Email Denise A.

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