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A Snub for Mushrooming Gambling Resort

The article ``Connecticut Towns See Tribal Expansion Plan As Too High Rollin','' Aug. 24, states that the issue over tribal expansion is: ``native American land rights and the promise of jobs vs. the power of citizen activism in local and state land management.'' As a former Ledyard resident, I feel this is incorrect. The issue is that 200 Mashantuckets, who profited $20.4 million in June, are planning to purchase between 900 and 1,200 homes in and near Ledyard, annex the approximately 9,000 acres these homes are situated on, and enlarge their resort. Seven hundred to 900 of the homes (and most of the land) is in the town of Ledyard. Townspeople have two basic problems with this expansion.

First, the acreage extends into the middle of Ledyard. Before the second casino opened, the Mashantuckets averaged 15,000 visitors a day. That equals the number of people in Ledyard. The second casino opened on Labor Day weekend, averaging 40,000 people a day. As the Mashantuckets' resort expands, Ledyard's infrastructure will obviously have to change to accommodate this huge and constant influx of people.

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Second, the acreage in question is approximately one-fifth of the town's land. If this land is annexed, the Mashantuckets will not pay taxes on it. The town's tax rate on the remaining land will have to raise just to make up the difference, not to mention an additional raise in taxes due to the burden on the town's roads, police, and emergency personnel.

Critics will point out that the tribe must buy the land before it can annex it. Homeowners are selling, however, because they find themselves with the largest casino in the country in their backyard. Lorna Jane DuBack Dicker, Portland,Ore.

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