According to an email today sent from Director of Indian Gaming Paula Hart, there is no need for the county board to rush to pass an intergovernmental agreement for the Kenosha Casino.
“There is no time limit when negotiating an IGA with the Tribe, in some cases, those agreements are entered into once the land is in trust. Also, there is no time “bar” from entering into that agreement. And nothing that says you have to sign at the same time as the city,” said Hart in an email to County Board member Laura Belski.
County Board Supervisor Laura Belsky has voiced her opposition to the secret nature of the negotiations behind closed doors from the very beginning. She called the process as laid out by the County Executive and County Board Chair “non-transparent.”
“Several supervisors are concerned that if we do not sign THIS IGA next Tuesday, we will be on the hook to pay for services and will have no ability for reimbursement from the tribe. I reached out to the BIA this morning and received an immediate response. There is absolutely no rush to sign this agreement and it does not impact the Menominee application with the BIA… Please advocate for delaying this vote until we receive the required information to make an educated and well informed decision. There is absolutely no reason to RUSH this through,” Belsky said in an email to her colleagues Friday.
Attorney Mike McTernan, who is representing the Potawatomi’s interests has also been critical with the City and County Governments for misleading the taxpayers.
“I have been asking the elected officials why they are rushing, at an unprecedented pace, approval of these Intergovernmental Agreements with the County and City of Kenosha and the Menominee Tribe. They have stated that they need to have these IGA’s approved or they could be left holding the bag paying for services and other improvements for the Menominee Tribe’s trust land where they hope to run their casino. Director Hart’s email makes it clear that there is no rush. I hope our community leaders will slow down and wait until all of the economic, environmental and traffic infrastructure analyses are in hand before they take any actions that are not easy to unwind. This will also provide the time for the public to weigh in on this project and voice their concerns, objections and/or support to their elected representatives,” McTernan told KCE Friday evening.
The City of Kenosha Common Council is scheduled to vote on the IGA on Monday. The Kenosha County Board is scheduled to vote on the intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday.