The proposed agreement defines what had previously been described as local jobs: the developer will use its best efforts to hire 95 percent of the permanent employees from within a 50-mile radius of its headquarters in downtown Milford.
As part of the agreement, Foxwoods will pay Milford $30 million in up-front payments for community development, to be paid in increments beginning six months after the start of construction. The payments will be completed within four years of the start of construction. In addition, the casino will pay at least another $25 million in real estate taxes every year after it opens.
In addition to those payments, the revised "host community agreement" also calls for new additions in mitigation funds for Milford, including a ladder truck for the Milford Fire Department that will arrive before the casino opens, up-front payments to add employees to both the Fire and Police Departments, an increased payment to cover impacts to other town departments, and a per-student payment to the Milford Public Schools that would cover English language learners, as well as special education students, who enter the town's schools as a result of the casino.
The agreement creates a "Residence Impact Fund" of $2.5 million to compensate homeowners who live east of I-495 and north of Route 109 who see a decline in price on sale of their property. The amount is based on the assessed value vs. sale prices for the homes in the affected neighborhoods, compared to the median change in value for other parts of Milford.
And it calls for Milford to receive annual payments of 2 percent of the casino's gross revenue above $500 million, less the amount paid annually to the schools and other town departments.
The proposed agreement includes 875 changes made to the initial host agreement released in mid-August, reflecting the recent change in size of the casino project. Foxwoods announced on Sunday it would increase the size of its proposed resort casino, to provide additional money to the town for mitigation and to compete with the Boston casino proposals.
According to an exhibit in the agreement, the Milford project now proposes almost 1 million square-feet of gambling and retail and resort space, along with a parking garage for 5,400 vehicles. Two or three hotels will provide 500 rooms described as four-star quality.
Foxwoods Massachusetts is competing with Suffolk Downs in East Boston and a Wynn Resorts development in Everett for the single resort casino license available in the greater Boston area. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will decide which community gets a license. All of the communities would first get a vote on the developments.
The revised host agreement was released to media on Tuesday night by Milford Selectman Chairman Bill Buckley. It has not yet been discussed by the town's three selectmen. It was negotiated by attorneys working for the casino and the town, and will be discussed a meeting of Milford Selectmen on Monday, according to an email from Buckley.
Milford Selectmen meet Wednesday night and, at that time, Foxwoods Massachusetts will present its new development scenario, Buckley said. The meeting is in the Upper Hall at Town Hall and begins at 6:30 p.m.
If Milford Selectmen approve the host community agreement, a referendum will be scheduled in Milford in 60 to 90 days. Town voters would decide whether the town moves ahead with the casino application.
Under the host community agreement:
- If it obtains the resort casino license, the developer has to start submitting final project design documents to the town within six months.
- The developer can change the conceptual design and the project description provided it isn't what is considered a material change in scope or size. If a material change is proposed, Milford Selectmen must approve it.
- The developer agrees to place its project structures no closer than 600 feet from the nearest homes, not including sheds or garages. But the agreement now gives the developer a 3 percent deviation from that distance to allow for varying measurement points.
- The town will not issue a building permit for the casino construction until the developer has preliminary approval from the state and federal governments to build the collector-distributor road that will access the site from I-495, and until the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a permit for sewer improvements.
- The town will not issue a building permit until the developer has a well completion report from a certified well driller that indicates it has sufficient water for the project.
- The town won't issue a building permit until the developer submits a noise study report, which will include study of highway and construction noise and propose mitigation to alleviate the noise.
- The casino cannot open until the developer has completed all traffic improvements, including the access roads and other off-site improvements.