Sources: Islandia casino could bring ‘host fees’ to lower taxes

Plans for a mini casino at the Islandia Marriott have been met with mixed opinions, but there are signs that it could result in lower taxes for residents.

Buffalo-based corporation Delaware North is trying to buy the hotel. Suffolk OTB would then lease space and install up to 1,000 high-tech video slot machines.

Since the decision rests with the Islandia Village Board, Delaware North is trying to gain support for the project in the village. The company has committed to paying for infrastructure projects, beautification and improvements at the village ballfield.

Sources say the company is willing to pay Islandia a so-called host fee that could be several million dollars, which could be used to slash village taxes.

Islandia resident Maryellen Ribulfo loves that idea. "That would be fabulous," she says. "That would be a very welcome thing. I think every homeowner on Long Island is getting killed by taxes."

The plan also has plenty of opponents, including Bruce Edwards, who heads the civic association in neighboring Ronkonkoma.

Edwards says he is afraid the facility will negatively impact the entire area.

"Even though they say 20 hours a day, it'll be a 24-hour-a-day operation. Traffic could be the same at 2 a.m. as it is 12 p.m. We don't have the capacity to have that there."

The Islandia Village Board has a work session scheduled for Tuesday, but no vote is expected.

A spokesperson for the village says no date has been set yet for the next public hearing on the issue or for a vote.


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