SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield receives millions of dollars from casino revenue, but it has been unclear where exactly that money goes and what it’s spent on.
A joint finance and casino oversight committee meeting of the city council was held Tuesday night. Currently, $17.6 million goes into the city’s general fund, which can be spent on numerous city expenses. However, residents were questioning what exactly that means.
Springfield City Councilor Tracye Whitfield told 22News, “We have to balance the budget. I know that the money that goes into that account helps with that, but there are other funds that come in from MGM. We want to know what’s happening with those funds as well.”
Those other funds are about $5 million. $2.5 million goes towards staffing the police and fire departments to make sure public safety is able to serve the population properly. Another $2.5 million goes towards “community development.” However, in the past two years, that has yet to be spent. There is roughly $4.6 million sitting in an account, untouched by the city.
“You’ve had two years they’ve been in business to try and figure it out,” said Ben Joiner a Springfield resident. “So I just wanted them to be more transparent in what they said today.”
Both the City Council and Springfield Chief’s Administration and Finance officer TJ Plante agree that there should be some policy in place to guarantee the money gets used properly.
The goal is to have a procedure in place by June to start allocating the $4.6 million. There are also monthly budget meetings you can attend to offer input. To find the city of Springfield’s budget, click here.