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In Reversal, Board Supports Local Casino

Written By Editor on 3/22/14 | 3/22/14

One week after representatives of Howe Caverns briefed local legislators, state officials, and others on their plans to compete for one of New York State's seven recently approved casinos, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors reversed their close February decision against the concept of hosting one in county with a 13-3 vote in favor of the idea Friday morning. 

Cobleskill Stone General Manager Chris Tague spoke on behalf of Howe Caverns, telling board members that, "we're not solely here... to sell Howe Caverns, but to open up development of Schoharie County," many supervisors, however, questioned the resolution's original language that offered county support for a specific site. 

Among those questioning the original language were Supervisors Buzon, Milone, and Skowfoe, all of whom supported last month's casino resolution but felt it was inappropriate for the board to support one potential location over another, with Mr. Milone stating that he did not believe the county should, "be interested in earmarking for one specific entity."

After almost an hour of prolonged discussion, supervisors voted down the resolution in support of Howe Caverns' project and moved to reconsider last month's failed measure that simply expressed the county's willingness to New York State to host a casino in principle. In response, several lawmakers personally opposed to the concept proposed a public hearing be held on the matter to salve their uneasiness.

The result of which was a confusing trio of votes that saw the county board include a public hearing in the resolution, followed by a motion to set a public hearing for next month, and then finally they moved to take the public hearing out of the resolution altogether. The crowd of public officials and residents alike grew restless over this fifteen minute period of dysfunction. 

In the end, despite the confusion and different viewpoints, only three supervisors voted against Schoharie County hosting a casino for a second time: Barbic of Seward, Bradt of Carlisle, and Federice of Conesville. When asked why he opposed the resolution, Mr. Bradt said that he based his vote on his town's opposition to last year's statewide ballot referendum, and that he, "had to vote to represent the people of Carlisle."

A public hearing will be held next month on the matter.
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