Kenosha City Council Consideration of Casino Put Off to Jan. 3

Nov. 20, 2023 9:45p

(WGTD)---The Kenosha casino debate lives on.

By unanimous consent, the Kenosha City Council voted Monday night to postpone action on an agreement with the Menominee Indian Tribe until its first meeting in January.

Before the vote, six of the 17 council members voiced support for the deferral.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, several people, including a person who said he represented the homeowner’s association of a subdivision that’s close to the casino site, advocated for a delay. 

That sentiment was echoed by the alderman of the area, Dominic Ruffalo. "I know what's going on, but the citizens don't exactly know what's going on," he said. "They think it's rushed."

Casino supporter Anthony Kennedy responded by saying that calls for a deferral seemed too much like a stalling tactic. "If the deferral was for some concrete things and deliverables, I would maybe be more supportive, but I'm not hearing what the deliverables are here," Kennedy said. "Is it to allow the citizens of Strawberry Creek to change their mind?" Kennedy asked. "Well we heard from quite a few of them and they aren't going to change their mind." 

After the vote, Mayor Antaramian reminded the council—and the public—that the agreement up for consideration is comparable to a pair of previous casino deals that the city had approved. He also bristled at suggestions that the current agreement was the product of improperly-conducted secret meetings—saying the city routinely conducts many negotiations out of the public eye and that not doing so would be counterproductive.

Several of what Antaramian termed "minor" changes were made to the tentative agreement that was reviewed informally by the council earlier this month. One amendment attempts to define the favorable borrowing conditions that would need to be present in order for the Menominees to proceed with construction of a hotel and entertainment center to complement the casino.  

Tuesday night, the Kenosha County Board is expected to take up the county’s agreement with the Menominees.