Playing it close to the vest
City officials also confirmed that they had received plans for the proposed expansion at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, but would not make them available for public viewing.
Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said Friday he was sponsoring a resolution drafted by Saratogians Against Casino-style Expansion opposing locating a full-scale gaming facility in the Spa City.
“I want a strong resolution that says ‘no’ to any expansion over there,” Scirocco said Friday. He is not interested in waiting until the state issues its Request for Applications that will outline exactly what a full-scale casino would entail. “If we want to have any impact we need to move now.”
He was making some changes to the drafted SAVE resolution, but said it largely coincided with his views on the subject.
At the same time, Mayor Joanne Yepsen also sponsored a resolution, but wouldn’t specify Friday exactly what it said and it was not released as part of the preliminary City Council agenda. Friday afternoon at about 3:30, the resolution was still being circulated in City Hall looking for edits, additions and comments from the City Council.
Yepsen said Friday that she expected the two resolutions to be merged. When asked if they were mutually exclusive, she said “Oh gosh no, they’re very similar.”
Scirocco said he would be willing to merge the two resolutions, provided it took a strong stance against expansion.
City Council members Michele Madigan and John Franck said Thursday they would prefer to wait for the RFAs to be released from the state, and Commissioner Christian Mathiesen said that while he was personally opposed to casino gambling in the state, he would accept a modest expansion at the casino provided it came with city oversight and provisions to protect city interests.
Still, he said he supported bringing the SAVE resolution to the table, though “I don’t agree with all of their concerns.”
Friday, city officials also confirmed they had received plans from the Saratoga Casino and Raceway showing the expansion they have planned, but they did not make the plans available for public review.
City Attorney Sarah Burger said the city only had one copy of the plans and “we are looking at it.”
When pressed to allow the documents to be reviewed, she said “would you like to go into my office and take the documents off of my desk to look at? Or any of these other desks for that matter?”
Shortly thereafter, Yepsen said “we’re not trying to not be transparent” but they could not let the plans leave City Hall. She then said they could be reviewed, but City Planner Kate Maynard was not available and Yepsen did not know where the plans were.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway is not required to get approvals from the Planning Board or city in order to move forward with its expansion.