Despite deals with Mansfield, Wrentham, and North Attleboro, Foxboro still remains the only town boarding Plainville without an agreement deal with Penn National Gaming Inc. to mitigate any of the impact caused by a slots parlor at Plainridge Racecourse.
Unlike other agreements with surround towns, the one for Foxboro would call Penn National to put money a fund to pay for the costs of the impacts the town might see from a racino. The amount to be put into the escrow account has not been agreed upon.
Town Council Dick Gellerman has asked for $250,000 to be placed into the account.
“I think that’s a reasonable amount considering the racino committee has quantified nearly $1 million in potential costs,” Gellerman said.
Penn National however, believe $100,000 should go into the account.
While the fund is for easy quick access if the impact can be quantified, Penn National would be responsible for any impact even if the cost is above the value of the escrow fund.
Selectman John Gray said he thinks the town should be asking for $400,000.
“Even $250,000 seems low. From the town’s prospective it would seem we would want more not knowing what we’re going to get in mitigation. In my judgement the number is well more than $250,000,” Gray said.
While Penn National development vice president Alex Stolyar has said they believe there won’t be any impact to Foxboro, they are open to mitigation if the town believes there is.
“We have done our impact studies. We have hired firms to do impact studies on our facility and they have determined no impact on Foxboro. We're saying we're going to open, look at the actual impact but whatever timeframe you can establish a documented and verifiable impact, then we will mitigate for that,” Stolyar said.
With an effort to repeal gaming legislation through a ballot question gaining momentum statewide, Stolyar said the initiative did not worry him, citing the Attorney General's office questioning the legality of the petition's goal.
A template does exist for a surrounding community agreement but negotiations between Penn National and the town are still ongoing.
If awarded the license, Planridge Racecourse would be home to 1,250 slot machines. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to award the slots license in January or in February if the surrounding community agreement remains unsigned by next month.