Tioga County Legislature asking Governor Cuomo to allow casinos to open

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TIOGA COUNTY – The Tioga County Legislature is joining a chorus of voices asking Governor Cuomo to allow non-Indian casinos in the state to reopen.

The legislature voted unanimously this morning to pass a resolution supporting the reopening of Tioga Downs.

Chairwoman Marte Sauerbrey says that even if the casino can’t resume gaming operations in the next few weeks, legislators would at least like to see a roadmap for reopening provided.

Sauerbrey says the county and the Town of Nichols each receive roughly 1.2 million dollars in casino revenue from Tioga Downs each year.

And the resort employs over 600 people and is a regular contributor to local charities.

Sauerbrey says Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural has submitted a safety plan to the state that includes temperature checks for all visitors, limited capacity and the sanitizing of machines after every person.

“It is vital to our community that they open up. We don’t want them to close permanently. We don’t want them to go away. Not saying that he’s threatened that but I am concerned that he cannot maintain this situation forever,” says Sauerbrey.

Meanwhile, the legislature also discussed another problem facing the county, finding a new hauler for its curbside recycling.

Its current contract runs out at the end of this year and bids that Tioga County received are more than twice the cost it’s currently paying.

Legislators agreed to consider other options for dealing with recyclables rather than pass off a large increase to taxpayers.

And legislators got a report on the current budget situation.

Aside from the lost casino revenue, sales tax collections are down 7% this year.

Departments have been asked to trim their spending by a total of 2 million dollars to help cushion the blow.

However, layoffs are not being discussed.

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