Foxwoods, Milford close in on host agreement

A Foxwoods gambling resort in Milford would pay annual property taxes of $18 million or more, as well as additional up-front and annual payments to bulk up local police, fire and school departments, under a draft host agreement released by the Milford Board of Selectmen.

Though not entirely finished, the framework of a deal seems in place in the more than 100-page document. Annual payments to the town from the developer would include $1.1 million for the fire department, $1.4 million for police, $121,000 for schools and $200,000 for town administration.

The agreement would require the developers to spend at least $1 billion on the facility and related traffic improvements. It forbids construction within 600 feet of any home.

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Foxwoods will also commit to applying its “best effort” to buy at least $50 million annually from local vendors, and to create 2,500 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs, according to the draft agreement.

Milford selectmen are scheduled to discuss the proposal this evening. Selectmen Brian W. Murray said he does not expect the board to approve the deal tonight, but that there is a good possibility the panel would finalize the agreement next week.

Once the deal is done, selectmen will set a date for a town-wide referendum on the proposal in early November.

If a majority of town voters endorse the proposal at referendum, the project would advance to the next hurdle: town meeting. Milford has a representative town meeting with 240 members, said Murray. The project would need to win a two-thirds vote at town meeting to change local zoning to permit a gambling business.

Foxwoods is competing for the sole Greater Boston resort casino license with Suffolk Downs, in East Boston, and Wynn Resorts, which has proposed a casino in Everett.

Wynn has already signed a deal with Everett and won a referendum. Suffolk Downs is negotiating a host agreement with the City of Boston.