MGC’s Community Mitigation Fund Review Team continues work in virtual setting in 2021
For the second consecutive year, the MGC’s Community Mitigation Fund Review Team is working through its meeting process virtually while maneuvering through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Legislature established an important mandate in the gaming law to mitigate unintended impacts associated with the arrival of casino gaming. To that end, the law created the Community Mitigation Fund to support communities and governmental entities in offsetting costs related to the construction and operation of gaming facilities.
Since 2015, the MGC has issued approximately $23 million in funding to advance needs in transportation, non-transportation planning, workforce development and public safety for municipalities and government entities located in the vicinity of the casinos.
Each spring and summer, MGC staff members review policy questions from the prior year’s Community Mitigation Fund guidelines, beginning the program’s yearlong process. In the fall of each year, the group works with Local Community Mitigation Advisory Committees and the Commission to develop new grant application guidelines for the upcoming year.
Based on those guidelines, representatives from host and surrounding communities around each casino submit applications to the MGC by February 1, which are then sent to the Review Team, the Commission, the MGC’s licensees, and other agencies for comments.
This year, the Community Mitigation Fund set aside $12.5 million for grants, and the review team received 28 total applications.
The committee has received and reviewed each grant application for 2021 and will now deliberate on each before developing recommendations for the Commission.
“We are making these recommendations after a very thorough review which involved numerous meetings of the review team, a public comment process, outreach to the licensees, and submission of written responses to review team questions,” said Joe Delaney, Chief of the MGC’s Division of Community Affairs.
In a change from recent years, the MGC’s Division of Community Affairs is bringing applications to the Commission as they are reviewed, rather than reviewing every application in one public meeting in the summer. Workforce Applications were reviewed in a public meeting on April 8, 2021, and Public Safety Applications were presented in a public meeting on April 26, 2021.
“The intent of this change is to help streamline the process and smooth out the workflow, while also getting money out to the communities in a more expedited fashion,” said Delaney. “While working remotely has presented us with numerous challenges, it has also allowed us to be more efficient in certain aspects of our work.”
Members of the 2021 Community Mitigation Fund Review Team include: –
– Joe Delaney; Chief, Division of Community Affairs
– Mary Thurlow; Program Manager
– Enrique Zuniga, Commissioner
– Jill Griffin; Director, Diversity and Legislative Affairs
– Katherine Hartigan; Senior Enforcement Counsel
– Carrie Torrisi; Associate General Counsel
– Crystal Howard; Workforce Program Manager
– Teresa Fiore; Research and Responsible Gaming Program Manager
– Tania Perez; Administrative Assistant
To learn more about the 2021 Community Mitigation Fund and this year’s applications, click here.