Council Discusses Encore Casino Host Agreement

The City Council discussed the status of a new Encore Boston Harbor Host Community Agreement (HCA) with Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Chief of Staff, Erin Deveney, who responded to councilors’ inquiries about the ongoing negotiations with Wynn officials.

Ward 2 Councilor Stephanie Martins had requested an update from the Administration about the process of renegotiating the HCA with Encore.

Ongoing Negotiations

“The City and representatives from Wynn have met on several occasions and have exchanged different sources of administration,” said Deveney. “We have not come to an agreement. The negotiations continue. In deference to Wynn, they were going through the MEPA process and the outcome of that process obviously was factoring in to the viability of whether or not they would be able to proceed with the proposed expansion to the east of Broadway. The negotiations are still active, and we have not yet reached an agreement on terms.”

The City of Everett receives more than $25 million annually in the current HCA with Wynn.

Matewsky Seeks Public Safety Sub-Station in New Agreement

Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Matewsky said he lives close to the Encore Boston Harbor property “and almost 24/7 fire engines and ambulances are going to that property.”

“I hope the Mayor and the negotiations team consider a public safety building [for that area of Broadway],” said Matewsky. “We just paid $500,000 for an ambulance. I think the casino people should have in this agreement that they put up a public safety building for the safety of our fire department and police department who go there [Encore Boston Harbor] 662 times a year. It’s over the top. It’s a quality-of-life issue.”

Deveney said Mayor Carlo DeMaria is cognizant of public safety concerns that have been raised by previous city councils and residents.

“We can’t control the number of calls and having that siren [sound] activity, but it has been noted by the Mayor that there is an interest that has been expressed to have some type of facility located in that section of the city.”

The Council did unanimously approve an amendment by Councilor Matewsky to add “a public safety building component” to the negotiations.

Council Will Not Have a Final Vote on New HCA

The most stunning revelation of the discussion was that the City Council will not have the opportunity to conduct a vote on approving the new Host Community Agreement.

In requesting a regular update from the DeMaria Administration about the negotiations, Council President Robert Van Campen asked Deveney, “Can I assume that Host Agreement as the original Host Agreement would require City Council approval?”

“In my conversation with outside counsel, whether or not the Host Community Agreement or an amendment to the existing one requires Council approval, outside counsel advised me tonight that it does not actually require City Council approval,” replied Deveney. “I was advised that you [the Council] are not formally and officially required to approve it.”

After Councilor Peter Pietrantonio asked for “transparency” during the negotiation process in the interest of residents, Councillor Stephanie Smith asked whether it was the renegotiation of the current agreement that didn’t require Council approval.

Deveney answered that “the agreement was not subject to Council approval.”

Martins immediately addressed Deveney’s response by asking if the Council “could get a commitment from the Administration that we could see a draft [of the HCA] before it’s approved so we can echo the voice and the request of our residents to make sure that we’re asking for as much as we possibly can.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we want to make sure we get it right for residents,” said Martins.

 Martins earned a big victory for residents when Deveney said, “I will share with all the parties the request from the Council to review a tentative agreement before signature.”

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