Town Council Tables Casino Referendum

The Town Council voted by a 8-1 margin to table a motion to hold a townwide referendum on the proposed $1 billion casino/resort complex at Suffolk Downs.

Councilor Craig Mael made the original motion to hold a referendum and was the only member to vote against tabling the measure.

Mael said upon an inquiry to state officials, he learned the deadline for placing the casino referendum on the ballot for the November 6, 2012 election was August 1. He said the possibility existed of holding the referendum in November but it would involve conducting two separate election sign-in and balloting processes at the poll locations. Because of the tremendous turnout expected in Winthrop for the Presidential and U.S. Senate elections, Mael and the Council felt it would be a difficult to conduct an election and a separate ballot referendum at the same time.

Mael, who did a thorough job in preparing the motion for consideration by his colleagues, said Town Clerk Carla Vitale informed him that a special election for the casino referendum would cost the town between $17,000-20,000.

Powers, who is chairman of the committee, felt that the town should wait to see how the casino process continues to evolve before expending funds for a special election. He felt that a referendum on the November, 2013 municipal election ballot would be early enough in the process to be given consideration by the State Gaming Commission.

As host communities for the casino, East Boston and Revere residents will vote in a referendum. Winthrop’s referendum would be non-binding.

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