Longmeadow and MGM swap final offers

Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP)  –  The town of Longmeadow and MGM Springfield exchanged their best and final offers for a surrounding community agreement.  They are currently in arbitration.

Longmeadow is asking MGM for $4.425 million over 13 years ($825,000 upfront and $275,000 annually).

MGM’s final offer was at least $850,000 over nine years ($200,000 upfront with payments differing each year, but are about $75,000 annually).  MGM agreed to pay for certain improvements at intersections in Longmeadow.

The arbitration period ends on April 24th, if a deal cannot be reached before then.

MGM is also in arbitration with West Springfield.

MGM has already reached surrounding community agreements with Chicopee, Agawam, Ludlow, East Longmeadow, Holyoke and Wilbraham.

Both Chicopee and Agawam will receive around $2.3 million dollars over the course of 15 years, but their deal would increase if MGM pays any town or city more than that.

MGM Springfield sent 22News this statement:

“With six signed surrounding community agreements, the MGM Springfield team feels good that our data-driven process has been fair, balanced and responsive to all parties. We have worked hard to reach similarly fair agreements with two additional communities, Longmeadow and West Springfield. But despite our best efforts in these two cases, we were not able to reach agreement. We will now rely on an arbiter’s resolution, so we can move on in the licensing process.”

Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane sent this to 22News:

The Longmeadow Select Board, through its attorneys, has submitted its Best and Final Offer for a surrounding community agreement to MGM. The Town has also received the Best and Final Offer from MGM. Both offers will be submitted to a three-person panel of arbitrators, who will choose the most reasonable offer in this “baseball style” arbitration process.

The Town’s offer includes an $850,000 upfront payment and 13 annual payments of $275,000 that will begin when MGM opens its doors. These payments will offset a small percentage of the traffic improvements and monitoring needed to mitigate the impact that the casino will have on Longmeadow. The funds will also be used to offset a reasonable percentage of increased public safety costs due, in part, to the expected increase in alcohol-related vehicle incidents that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission studies have shown are common in towns surrounding existing casinos. The offer includes a limited “look back” on traffic issues, consistent with consultant recommendations, but preserves the Town’s reopener rights under the Gaming Commission’s regulations, which MGM sought to have waived.

The baseline value of the agreement is $4.425 million; by comparison, the value of the counter proposal made in December was $8.45 million. Additionally, both proposals included annual inflationary increases as well as direct reimbursement of legal and consultant costs incurred through this process. MGM’s Best and Final Offer gives Longmeadow two options: (1) one limited to only certain traffic intersections, with a fixed value of $200,000 and a potential overall value of up to $800,000; and (2) another based on a cumulative value of $1.6 million. Both options are substantially less than previous offers from MGM to the Town and do not address significant and adverse impacts to the Town from MGM.

Town Manager Stephen Crane stated: “In a demonstration of good faith to reach a mutual agreement, Longmeadow offered to absorb almost half of MGM’s share of the mitigation costs that were justified in the previous offer and affirmed by the Gaming Commission. It is disappointing that while the Town tried to bridge the gap, MGM decided to go in the opposite direction.” Crane added, “Longmeadow’s Best and Final Offer is a reasonable compromise.”

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