New England News
6:25 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Springfield Casino Committee Dissolved As Licensing Decision Nears

The city council in Springfield Massachusetts will have three new ad hoc committees this year. A special committee created two years ago to advise the council on casino issues has been dissolved

City Council President Mike Fenton, who created three new ad hoc committees for 2014, and dissolved the Casino Site Committee

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton announced appointments to 15 standing committees and assigned councilors to chair three new special committees that will be tasked with identifying new revenue sources for the city, examining workforce development efforts, and attracting young professionals to live in Springfield.

While the standing committees are made up exclusively of city councilors, the special committees are open to the public. Fenton encouraged people interested in serving to send a resume to the city council office. Fenton said he plans to announce the appointments to the ad hoc committees during the week of January 20th

Fenton said he decided to dissolve the casino site committee because the city has entered into a development agreement with MGM Resorts which has filed a final application with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a license to build an $800 million resort casino in downtown Springfield.

A special committee on school safety that was created by former city council president James Ferrera following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was also dissolved. The ad hoc Green Committee, which was created by Fenton’s predecessor and is charged with looking for ways for the city to reduce its carbon footprint, will continue for another year.

Each of the councilors has been given a committee chairmanship and Fenton kept two for himself-- he will chair the special Green Committee and the Committee on State and Federal Relations.

Veteran councilors with experience were picked to chair key committees such as Councilor Tim Rooke who will head the powerful Finance Committee and Councilor Tom Ashe who will return for another year as chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

Justin Hurst, a first-term councilor, was tapped to head the Young Professional Committee.

Councilor Tim Allen will chair both the ad hoc committees on new revenue and workforce development.

The city plans to provide a live webstream of city council committee meetings for the first time. The meetings will also be recorded and will be available for viewing later on the city’s website.

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