City Council to review casino agreement, Sept. 28
Elk Grove Citizens
By Lance Armstrong
Citizen Staff Writer
The Elk Grove City Council on Sept. 28 will consider approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Wilton Rancheria Indian tribe for a casino near Highway 99 and Kammerer Road.
Included in that project are a gaming floor with 2,000 slot machines, 84 gaming tables, a 12-story, 302-room hotel, a fitness area and spa, an outdoor pool, a 30,000-square-foot convention space/banquet area and fine dining restaurants.
A city staff report mentions that the project is estimated to cost $400 million to construct, and is anticipated to generate more than 1,750 jobs. Wilton Rancheria wants to build this casino next to the future Promenade at Elk Grove mall site.
The MOU represents a key step in the tribe’s efforts to have Sacramento County’s first tribal casino built in Elk Grove, as the agreement is necessary for the tribe to later enter into a compact through the state legislative process.
Tribal Chair Raymond “Chuckie” Hitchcock said that the casino would benefit the community with “upwards of more than $120 million with both the nonrecurring and recurring payments” within the next 20 years.
The city staff report details one-time monetary contributions in the MOU that the tribe will pay the city if the casino built.
Those contributions include $10,469,711 for citywide road improvements, $1,824,028 for regional or shared roadways with the county, $250,000 for police vehicles and equipment. These non-recurring payments total $14,543,739. There is also an offer to pay $1.5 million every year for police and city code enforcement services.
Hitchcock commented about his anticipation for the Sept. 28 council meeting.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to take another step in this long process and forge a partnership and relationship with the city of Elk Grove to bring this community some great new, more exciting amenities and provide funding for the services that are needed in our community,” he said.
However, the proposed casino is not without controversy, as not everyone in Elk Grove is supportive of the project.
In a Sept. 27 press release, Cheryl Schmit, director of the activist group, Stand Up For California called for the council’s Sept. 28 vote to be delayed.
“The city must delay this vote and hold a public informational hearing providing citizens the opportunity to voice their views,” she said. “The City Council of Elk Grove should be asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs to name it a ‘cooperating agency’ in the National Environmental Policy Act process. City officials and local residents need time to digest and consider the long-term effects on the environmental, social, and financial health of the city that this project will bring.”
The City Council meeting will be held 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 8400 Laguna Palms Way.