Plans for Wilton tribe’s casino move forward
GALT — Despite an agreement otherwise, the City of Galt will pay an outside consultant $20,000 to study potential economic impacts of building a casino nearby.
The Wilton Rancheria Miwok Tribe wants to build a casino, 12-story hotel, restaurant and other amenities on 282 acres located just north of Galt. The area is within the city’s sphere of influence.
Because of this, officials want to evaluate potential impacts to the city’s economy and infrastructure including traffic, water, wastewater and further development, but they lack the staff knowledge to do so, according to a report presented at the Oct. 20 council meeting.
At that time, council members approved the $20,000 expense so that consultants can examine those impacts and report back to the city on how to mitigate them.
The tribe first presented its plan to the council in 2013. At the time, representatives vowed to work closely with the city and agreed that the tribe would fund the consultant plan. But at last month’s meeting, tribe chairman Raymond Hitchcock said he was concerned the city would use that document against the tribe, according to the minutes.
A clause in the agreement approved in March has left the parties at an impasse.
Councilman Curt Campion publicly voiced his dissatisfaction with the relationship with tribe officials at the Oct. 20 meeting, stating that he had hoped they would be a good community partner from what was discussed early on.
In March 2013, council members stopped short of giving unconditional support to the tribe when its members made their first public presentation regarding plans to build the gaming facility, possibly along with an adjoining hotel, new housing, a school and a health care center for its 700 tribal members.
If built at the southwest corner of Highway 99 and Arno Road, the casino could potentially create thousands of jobs for local residents and generate spin-off revenue by patrons spending money at Galt’s gas stations, motels and restaurants.