Conoy Township supervisors reversed course and decided to join other municipalities in Lancaster County by passing a resolution opting out of casino gambling.
“Basically, if we opt out, that gives us more bargaining power,” Supervisors Chairman Stephen L. Mohr said after hearing a lengthy explanation from Jake Smeltz, who is chief of staff to state Sen. Ryan Aument and a member of the Mount Joy Borough Council, about why he thought the township should opt out.
A state law expanding gambling that passed along with the state budget gives municipalities until Dec. 31 to opt out of casinos. When the issue came up at supervisors’ November meeting, supervisors decided to take no action. But Smeltz told supervisors at their meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, that he thought they would be wise to opt out because otherwise, the township will have no bargaining leverage with someone who wants to put a casino there. By opting out, the township can extract concessions from a casino developer should it wish to host a casino in the future.
“This is not a vote necessarily that you oppose gaming as a whole,” Smeltz said, but rather one that ensures a casino developer will have to negotiate with the township.
Smeltz also noted that other municipalities had passed opt-out resolutions.
“Every municipality in our county will have elected not to host one of these things,” Smeltz said.
Smeltz noted that small games of chance will not be affected by the resolution.
Supervisors passed the opt-out resolution unanimously. Smeltz said he would personally deliver the resolution to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Friday, Dec. 15.
In other business, supervisors unanimously approved the 2018 budget, which was previously advertised, without discussion. They also unanimously approve the purchase of 738 Stackstown Road for $15,717, to be taken from the sewer fund. Secretary-Treasurer John L. Shearer said the property would be used in the future for a sewage pumping station. Supervisors Chairman Stephen L. Mohr said he expects the state will mandate public sewers in the township’s Stackstown and Sagerville areas in the coming years. Mohr said the property was advertised for a tax sale and the township was the highest bidder for the property.