Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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May 1st, 2014

Will Sullivan County Get Screwed?

A lot of people including myself are angry that developers are competing for Resort Gaming Destination facilities in other counties in our designated region, but can we really blame them? Of course not!

Developers have every right to build where they want to – The problem here is that we did very little before and after Proposition One was passed to seek out and woo all these people to Sullivan County to let them battle it out.

Instead many of our officials and those connected with them embarked on a campaign that made it appear that the developer who plans to build on most of Concord site was going to be awarded the Crown Jewel because their entertainment complex was already on the drawing boards and approved by Town and County officials.

What they misjudged was that once Proposition One was passed the slate was wiped clean.

To add insult to injury – some of the investors in the spectacular Adelaar project doubled down and are proposing an extravagant complex in Tuxedo, New York by Sterling Forest. They are also planning on funding a much needed and stalled project to add an additional exit to the New York State Thruway.

On top of that – One Sullivan County legislator, Kathy LaBuda who is a member of our gaming committee went as far as to publically state her opposition to a parcel that was proposed for development in Mamakating. That same developer has walked away from his Sullivan County plans and has instead partnered with Caesar’s in Orange County. So much for inviting development!

The fact of the matter is that we can argue back and forth with what should have been and what could have been done differently. Sadly, we are once again faced with the reality of being screwed.

With five contenders in Orange County, as developer Louis Cappelli pointed out this week, it might be very difficult for Sullivan County projects to receive the financing they need in this economic climate.

In all likelihood our region will be awarded two Resort Destinations and every county in it will benefit, nonetheless we must do everything feasible to ensure that Sullivan County gets both of them.

We are very fortunate to have four respectful and serious contenders right here in Sullivan County. Besides “Adelaar” which is backed by our racino operator Empire Resorts, we have two of the largest casino operators in the United States wanting a piece of the action – Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. And, then there is the Stockbridge Munsees and their respectable developers.

What we must focus on in the months ahead is the original intent behind Proposition One and that is bringing economic development, jobs, and revitalization to depressed Counties in New York State. I can think of none more deserving than Sullivan County. It is imperative that the Gaming Commission understands this.

The simple truth is that Orange County is not depressed – It is flourishing because it has literally become a suburb of New York City. Orange County is not a vacation destination.

Proposition One was flawed from the start and should have included only Sullivan County. It would have passed exactly the same way it did on Election Day.

Unlike other counties in New York State, we have been fighting for Casino Resort Destinations for decades, and every elected official in New York State knew this. Out of the three regions approved for gaming voters in one do not even want them.

On the bright side, if the Request for Application is any indication, Sullivan County could still be leading the way for approval of two resort destinations.

Seventy percent of the determining factor in deciding who gets a license will be based on economic impacts such as jobs created and what they mean for the host County. Because we are such a depressed County one would assume this will benefit us.

Local support will only entail 20 percent of the determining factor with who is awarded a license. That is bunched in with local impacts and costs; mitigation of impact to host communities and neighboring communities; the effect on housing stock and education; local business and regional attraction co-promotion plans; agreements with other large entertainment venues; and the use of local businesses.

During the next several weeks as developer questions are answered, and final applications are prepared for the June 30th deadline, we will see who remains when all the dust settles.

Without a doubt we can expect a summer filled with lobbying and anticipation, and an autumn that will keep us guessing and wondering – Will Sullivan County Get Screwed?

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.


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