An initial draft of the agreement between Milford and the Foxwoods Massachusetts casino would require the town to hold off on a building permit until the state and federal government give preliminary approval to the proposed highway access, and until a "well completion report" demonstrates the town has enough water capacity to support the development.
In other requirements, the footprint of the casino structures would be restricted to being no closer than 600 feet from the closest homes, and the occupancy permit would not be issued until the developer has completed "all traffic improvements, including off-site road improvements..."
The draft also states the casino developer will "use its best efforts" to employ at least 3,000 people, of which at least 2,000 will be full-time.
The 49-page draft agreement, released to local media late Thursday by Board of Selectman Chairman Bill Buckley, acknowledges that changes may be made to the project after the agreement is signed. But if the changes are "material changes," which substantially affect the project design or scope, the developer would have to come back to the town's board of selectmen for approval.
If the three-member board of selectmen approves the host community agreement — which has not yet come before the board for its feedback, according to Buckley — a public referendum will be scheduled within 60 to 90 days, and Milford voters will decide on the agreement.
The draft agreement calls for a series of direct community payments by Foxwoods Massachusetts to the town, made at least nine months before the casino opens, in addition to an estimated $20 million in property and hotel taxes expected to be generated by the development.
The draft specifies for upfront payments:
- An undetermined amount for the Milford Fire Department, for equipment and training for nine new firefighters, one new ladder truck and rehabilitation of the Birch Street. The developer has agreed to pay $400,000 in upfront costs, according to the draft. Under negotiation is $1.3 million mostly related to the cost of the new fire truck and for the Birch Street rehabilitation.
- Police would receive $338,500 to cover one patrol car, one patrol wagon, construction of a police firing range and nine sets of uniforms and equipment for new officers, as well as two remote radio receivers.
- The Fire Department would get $1,115,000 to cover the salaries, pensions, benefits, overtime and uniforms for nine new hires.
- Police would get $1.4 million in annual payments to cover salaries, pensions, benefits, overtime and uniforms for 13 new officers, including dispatchers.
- The Milford Schools would receive $121,000 for the cost of educating 20 new students entering the system as a result of the casino operations, based on projections provided to the town last month. The developer, according to the draft notes, has agreed only to a "reopener" of this amount for a demonstrated increase in special education costs only. The point remains under negotiation, the draft states.
- The town would receive another $200,000 a year to cover increased administrative services, which could include permitting and inspection requirements.
The developer also agrees that it will include as a part of its rewards program, or loyalty program, at least $50,000 a year in vouchers and gift certificates to town businesses.
With respect to jobs, the draft agreement states the developer will use its best efforts to hire and employ 3,000 people. At least 2,000 of those jobs would be full-time positions. The developer agrees to try to hire no more than 5 percent of the workforce from outside Milford and its "surrounding area." The definition of "surrounding area" is still under negotiation.
Selectmen are expected to discuss the draft in the board's next meeting, Buckley said, in an email. That meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26. The working paper released Thursday is the result of discussions between the town's casino attorney and the Foxwoods Massachusetts team.
The draft agreement acknowledges that a town vote on the project could take place before the Foxwoods Massachusetts casino has received a "determination of suitability" from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. That designation follows a background investigation into finances and regulatory history of the development corporation and its officers and primary managers. That process is still taking place for the resort casino applicants, including Foxwoods Massachusetts, said a Commission spokeswoman Thursday.
The determination of suitability is probably not expected until September or October, said Gaming Commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll.
In the event Foxwoods Massachusetts was not found suitable, the draft agreement would allow the selectmen to terminate the agreement and call off a community vote.