ELK GROVE (CBS13) – In a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Elk Grove City Council approved the city’s agreement with the Wilton Rancheria tribe to build a 12-story casino.
The proposal must now go through a federal process, and the Feds ultimately will decide if a casino will happen or not.
Wednesday’s vote came before a packed house. It was standing room only at the city council meeting, with people spilling into the hallways.
For some Elk Grove residents, the thought of a casino in their neighborhood is troubling.
“There’s enough gambling for everyone to go around, we don’t need this one,” said resident Joe Teixeira.
“I think it’s gonna be heavy on traffic,” said Rick Ludlow.
This was the first time the tribe officially went before the city council to discuss terms of the agreement for the building of the casino and resort that will include 300 rooms, 2000 gaming machines and event space. The casino would take up 36 acres of land off Highway 99 next to a long overdue mall project that has sat unfinished for years.
“What we’re going to be providing is over $130 million over the next 20 years to the city of Elk Grove,” said tribal chairman Raymond Hitchcock.
The tribe is not required to pay property or sales taxes, but the agreement does require them to cover the city’s costs. The tribe will be paying the following over two decades:
-$56 million to the city’s general fund
-$36 million to police services
-$12 million to roadways and improvements
-$10 million to the school district
-$2 million for Community projects
“That’s far more than any business would be paying in taxes for sure,” said Hitchcock.
“We think it protects the city in the event the tribe ultimately gets approval to build it. It will provide funding for the community to make sure any potential negative impacts were mitigated,” said assistant city manager Jason Behrmann.
In the first year, about seven new police officers can be hired. And nearly 2,000 jobs will be generated, but some are just not convinced.
“The jobs that are at the casino aren’t healthy jobs, full of second-hand smoke,” said Teixeira. “It’s just not a good fit for this family-oriented community.”
“I don’t think the mitigation agreement is sufficient to compensate the city for loss of revenue,” said Ludlow.
If approved through the federal process and Bureau of Indian Affairs, the tribe is hoping to break ground in three to five years.