What you need to know
- The Expanded Gaming Act created the Community Mitigation Fund to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operation of a gaming establishment.
- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded nearly $2 million to several communities and entities comprising the 2017 Community Mitigation Fund
- The Community Mitigation Fund may be used to offset costs related to both Category 1 resort-casino facilities (MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor) and the state’s Category 2 slots-only facility (Plainridge Park Casino).
A Request for Public Comment: 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Guidelines Discussion Draft
Below please find a “Discussion Draft” of the 2018 Community Mitigation Fund (“CMF”) Guidelines, a comparison to the 2017 Guidelines and a memorandum on Policy questions regarding the 2018 CMF. Before beginning any final review of the “Discussion Draft”, the Commission determined that it would seek input from the general public. The purpose of the “Discussion Draft” is to receive substantial recommendations from parties to enable the Commission to evaluate the concepts in this draft. The Commission has not adopted these Guidelines.
- 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Discussion Draft Guidelines
- 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Guidelines Comparisons to 2017
- 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Policy Recommendations
In addition to a request for comments on the massgaming.com website, the Commission is seeking the input of the Gaming Policy Advisory Committee, regional planning agencies, host communities, surrounding communities, communities that entered into a nearby community agreement, communities that petitioned to become a surrounding community, geographically adjacent communities, the general public and other interested parties. Comments from other communities and governmental entities are also requested.
This Discussion Draft includes renewals, proposed changes, and suggested additional concepts to the 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Guidelines, some of which are detailed below.
The 2018 Discussion Draft Guidelines:
- Continue the grant types approved in 2017 Guidelines. The Guidelines increase funding for some categories and include one new type of grant called the Non-Transportation Planning Grant.
|Grant Type||Proposed 2018 Per Grant Amounts||Per Grant Amounts in 2017 Guidelines|
|Specific Impact Grants||$500,000||$400,000|
|Workforce Pilot Program||$300,000
|Tribal Impact Grant||$200,000||$200,000|
|Non-Transportation Planning Grant||$50,000||N/A|
Note: in the proposed Guidelines, the Commission expresses its ability to go above or below such guideline limits and also allows applicants to seek a waiver from such limits in specified instances.
- Initiate a 2018 Non-Transportation Planning Grant available to communities that previously qualified to receive funding from the One-Time 2015/2016 Reserve Fund and have already “utilized” such funding (i.e. have allocated and received Commission approval of the use of their Reserve funding).
- Establish a target limit of $200,000 per Transportation Planning Grant with a total allocation target of $1,000,000; a target of $500,000 per Specific Impact Grant, limited to one per community; and a target of $300,000 per Workforce Development Pilot Program region (Region A & Region B) for a total allocation target of $600,000 statewide.
- Continue the potential use of the Community Mitigation Fund to mitigate operational impacts relating to the Plainridge Park facility with a limit of $500,000.
- Continue the potential use of the Community Mitigation Fund to mitigate Specific Impacts related to the construction of MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor. Although the Discussion Draft Guidelines limit Category 1 impact grants to construction based impacts, the Commission seeks input on whether eligibility should be expanded to include some additional costs that may occur prior to operations including police training costs. In previous years the Commission had already authorized funding for some pre-operational costs such as workforce development and training, and transportation planning activities.
- Automatically preserve unused 2015/2016 One-Time Reserve Fund grant for those communities awarded Reserves in 2015 or 2016.
- Require governmental entities within communities such as redevelopment authorities or non-regional school districts to submit applications through such community rather than submitting applications independent of the community.
- Continue to support regional approaches to mitigation needs and recognize that some mitigation requires the commitment of more than one community. For example, the 2018 Discussion Draft allows communities to submit a joint application. [NOTE: In order to further regional cooperation the Commission recently discussed the potential establishment of “bonus” funding (beyond the amounts stated in the Guidelines) for applications involving more than one community. The Commission seeks further comment on the establishment of a bonus and how such bonus could be implemented. In addition to the promotion of regional approaches, the Commission discussed that a bonus might allow for larger projects with potentially greater benefits than allowable under last year’s limits funding limits and this year’s proposed limits.]
- Allow the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department to apply for lease assistance funding as specified in the Commission’s determination in 2016, including lease assistance for both Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019.
- Require applicants to include a detailed scope, budget and timetable and to detail what they will contribute to the project such as in-kind services for each mitigation request;
- Suggest certain limitations and specific requirements on planning applications. Applicants should provide detail regarding consultations with nearby communities to determine the potential for cooperative regional efforts regarding planning activities.
- Stipulate that the Commission may in its discretion waive or grant a variance from any provision or requirement contained in these Guidelines.
- Continue the 2017 Fund Guidelines practice of having one statewide fund. However, the Discussion Draft indicates the Commission’s intent to develop a system in future guidelines of awarding funding based in part on the amount of gaming taxes paid into the CMF from each current Category 1 facility. Any such system would still need to address needs statewide, including those resulting from the state’s only Category 2 facility whose gaming taxes are primarily dedicated to local aid.
Comments are requested by 5:00pm on Monday, November 27, 2017. To expedite the comment process, we encourage you to submit any comments to the 2018 Community Mitigation Fund Guideline concept draft via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘2018 CMFG‘ in the subject line.
About the 2017 Community Mitigation Fund
The application period for the 2017 Community Mitigation Fund is now closed.
As part of the effort to help offset impacts that may result from the development and operation of gaming facilities in the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Legislature created the Community Mitigation Fund as part of the Expanded Gaming Act. Pursuant to the Act, applications for funds are annually due in the beginning of February [February 1, 2017].
Over the next few years while the gaming facilities are being constructed and particularly when the facilities are operational, the Community Mitigation Fund will play a pivotal role in helping communities and others address impacts. The Commission looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with communities and other interested parties regarding the use of these funds in the future. Once Category 1 (full casino) facilities are operational, significant new funds will be deposited annually into the Community Mitigation Fund. However, at least through 2018, the Community Mitigation Fund will need to rely on one-time funds deposited by gaming licensees as part of their gaming license fees.
2017 Community Mitigation Fund Awards
A Community Mitigation review team conducted a comprehensive review of all applications to ensure compliance with the 2017 guidelines. The review team made recommendations to the Commission and those recommendations were discussed in a series of public meetings. Based on those discussions, the Commission voted to award the following grants:
|GRANTS AWARDED||2017 TYPE OF APPLICATION||AWARD||DESCRIPTION|
|City of Everett||Specific||$150,000.00||The grant will provide funding for a bike sharing service in Everett that will help Everett lessen potential casino related construction and operation period traffic congestion.|
|City of Everett||Transportation||$150,000.00||The grant will provide funding for the preliminary design and engineering of a bus-only lane on the west side of Broadway/Route 99 from the Everett city line to Route 16 / Sweetser Circle, a primary traffic corridor for expected casino related traffic.|
|City of Lynn||Transportation||$100,000.00||The grant will provide funding for transportation planning studies to help alleviate potential casino related traffic impacts on Lynn roads.|
|Norfolk District Attorney’s Office||Specific||$25,000.00||The grant will provide funding to develop a data system to help the Norfolk County DA’s Office determine casino related impacts on Office resources and caseloads.|
|Town of Plainville||Specific||$148,750.00||The grant will provide funding for the purchase of a fire suppression vehicle for the Plainridge Park facility.|
|Town of Plainville||Reserve||$98,397.92||This grant will provide funding for public safety radios that can work in the Plainridge Park facility, a cardiac monitor, and body armor to be used in responding to events at Plainridge Park.|
|City of Springfield||Specific||$31,523.00||The grant will fund the continuation of a valet pilot program for the Caring Health Center and other area businesses impacted by construction.|
|City of Boston||Transportation||$150,000||The grant will provide funding for a portion of the City’s engineering design costs for a proposed reconstruction of Sullivan Square / Rutherford Avenue, a major traffic corridor expected to support casino related traffic and traffic from other traffic generators over the long term.|
|City of Boston||Reserve||$100,000||In conjunction with Boston’s 2017 Transportation Planning Grant, this grant will provide funding for a portion of the City’s engineering design costs for a proposed reconstruction of Sullivan Square / Rutherford Avenue, a major traffic corridor expected to support casino related traffic and traffic from other traffic generators over the long term.|
|City of Medford||Transportation||$80,000||The grant will provide a full year’s worth of funding for a contract transportation planner and funding for an engineering feasibility study for a proposed new multi-use path. A new multi-use path (the South Medford Connector) may greatly enhance connections to other regional pathways and provide another method for employees and patrons to access the casino.|
|City of Revere/Town of Saugus||Transportation||$150,000||This grant will provide funding for a shared transportation planner to help the two communities plan to address casino related transportation issues. This innovative sub-regional cooperative effort is designed to help the two communities focus on achievable transportation improvement projects involving roadways that may be impacted by casino related traffic.|
|City of Somerville||Transportation||$150,000||The grant provides funds to initiate a formal planning study of the intersection of Interstate 93, State Route 28 (Fellsway/McGrath Highway) and State Route 38 (Mystic Avenue), which already experiences one of the highest crash rates in the state and may be impacted by casino related traffic. A consultant team will be engaged to conduct public engagement, alternatives analysis, and concept design.|
|City of Somerville||Reserve||$100,000||The grant will provide funding for baseline data collection for two areas that may be impacted by casino related traffic, near-highway air pollution and vehicular traffic patterns. The City can use such data when comparing such pollution and traffic patterns once the casino is operational.|
|Town of West Springfield||Transportation||$150,000||The grant will provide funding for engineering design services for improvements to the Elm Street (Route 20) corridor from Westfield Street to Park Street to enable the town to better accommodate casino related traffic and to improve pedestrian, bicycle and public transit access and safety.|
|Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (“SRPEDD”)||
Tribal Gaming Technical Assistance Grant
|$200,000||Upon a determination by the Commission that construction of a proposed Taunton gaming facility will likely commence during Fiscal Year 2018, this reserve would provide funding to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) for technical assistance funding to assist in the determination of potential impacts that may be experienced by communities that are geographically proximate to such proposed facility.|
|City of Malden||Transportation||$150,000.00||The grant would provide funding for planning and design of improvements to Exchange Street from Pleasant Street to Main Street. The area was named as a hub for parking and transport for both casino employees and patrons to the site.|
2017 Workforce Development Pilot Program Grants
On June 28, 2017, members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved close to $600,000 in grants for a Workforce Development Pilot Program designed to fund gaming career pathways for local residents. The Workforce Program is a component of the 2017 Community Mitigation Fund, which was established by the Gaming Law to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments.
The Workforce Program was developed to provide interested residents in gaming regions the ability to attain academic and occupational credentials needed to work in the most in-demand occupations related to the gaming industry. Additionally, it was established to assist the unemployed or underemployed to either get their GED or Adult Basic Education (“ABE”) which would position them to get future jobs in the casino industry or training in advance by the backfilling of jobs.
In evaluating the Workforce Program applications, the review team analyzed the applications to the general criteria for review of all Community Mitigation Fund applications and more specific criteria developed specifically for the Workforce Development Pilot Program.
The review team made recommendations to the Commission and those recommendations were discussed in a series of public meetings. Based on those discussions, the Commission voted to award the following grants:
|MetroNorth Regional Employment Board||Metro North Casino Careers Consortium (MNCCC)||$200,000.00||The purpose of the MNCCC is to prepare and train local residents for jobs related to the construction of the Wynn Boston Harbor gaming facility and to create a system in which local residents are able to start a career pathway leading to any number of casino-related careers.|
|Springfield Public||Ahead of the Game Program||$171,833.03||The Springfield Public Schools would like to establish an initiative called “Ahead of the Game” program which will target low-skill, low-income adults, interested in pursuing long term careers with MGM Springfield. The Ahead of the Game program will focus on individuals looking to obtain their adult basic education (ABE) or GED, in order to pursue higher education. The goal of this program will be to prepare low-income adults for enrollment into post-secondary workforce training programs relevant to the needs of MGM Springfield.|
|Springfield Tech||Hampden Prep||$200,000.00||
Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), in collaboration with Holyoke Community College (HCC) proposes to develop and implement an innovative High School Equivalency (HSE) and workforce readiness program, Hampden Prep.
The overarching goal of Hampden Prep is to accelerate ABE, HiSET prep and developmental programs for Hampden County residents and to provide non-traditional students the supports needed to complete postsecondary credentials in areas recognized by employers in the Springfield labor market.