RENSSELAER, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Common Council voted Wednesday to approve a location and casino license in the city.
Rensselaer Mayor Daniel Dwyer said the proposed casino site would be for De Laet's Landing right along the Hudson River. The casino would be operated by Global Gaming which ended their proposed casino in Albany Wednesday.
Rensselaer’s common council unanimously supported a casino along the Hudson River when it met in December 2013. And Dwyer said a casino is something the city wants. He said the city is in desperate need of revenue to help its residents.
“I’m having a tremendous amount of trouble with infrastructure here,” he said. “We’ve got the site. We got the best site around. It’s on the Hudson.”
In the last six months, Dwyer said the city spent more than $1 million in emergency city and water repairs.
"Each year it's a struggle for them to pay their taxes. And costs are going up to run the city,” he said. “So I want to help the people here. It's going to help them a great deal.”
But just before the city council voted 6 to 1 in favor of pursuing a casino, residents spoke out against it.
“I’m against a casino in Rensselaer,” Joanne Scheibly said. “I’m against it in East Greenbush. I’m against it in Albany.”
Others said it would bring more crime to the area.
“These kinds of casinos are going to bring in hookers, drug dealers,” Joanne Farrell said. “Does it sound like we need more of that?”
But some thought a casino would bring in the much needed revenue.
“I’d rather see it in Rensselaer cause I think we need the funds,” Marvin Seaburg said.
Dwyer said city residents could be faced with another increase in taxes, but he promised to reduce taxes if a casino comes to the city.
“I’ll start reducing taxes,” he said. “People are living on the edge over here.”
He also said he would make sure the public understands what may be coming.
“People are going to be informed,” he said. “They are going to have the schematic of what the hotel/casino is going to be.”
Councilman Dave Gardner voted against the plan saying his constituents don’t support it. He said the next step is for the city to schedule public hearings for the developers to outline their plan.
Global Gaming is a combination of Flaum Management and Capitol OTB, the same groups that pitched the now failed E23 project in Albany.