Aurora delays considering video gambling machine fee hike – Chicago Tribune

Aurora delays considering video gambling machine fee hike – Chicago Tribune

The Aurora City Council has delayed consideration of a hike in fees on video gambling machines in the city. (David Sharos / The Beacon-News)

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The Aurora City Council this week further delayed consideration of any increases in video gambling device fees.

Aldermen this week delayed both routine changes in the ordinance to match a change in state gaming law, and also a proposed change in fees for the video gambling devices.

The delay in changing city code to match the state is for at least two weeks, and will come back to the full City Council at its Aug. 23 meeting.

The delay in increasing the fees was referred back to the City Council Finance Committee, because aldermen agreed there are several issues involving the actual fees that need to be discussed.

Because the agenda already is set for this week’s Finance Committee, it won’t be discussed until the Aug. 25 meeting.

Aldermen made the moves during discussion of the gaming fee ordinance, and after hearing from some local establishments that have video gambling machines.

Jay Wessells, owner of AC’s Pub on the far West Side, said the higher fees would be a hardship because his establishment suffered a fire last December, right after going through problems connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the bar and restaurant is getting set to reopen Sept. 1, insurance did not cover all the damage, he said, and the fee increase would be difficult.

“We really don’t need a hit like that,” he said.

Joe Lusk, of the Luxemburger Club on High Street on the East Side, presented another side to the issue. Unlike AC’s, the Luxies Club is a not-for-profit, which uses a lot of the money it raises to donate to social service agencies throughout the city.

He suggested the city adopt lower fees for non-profits than for regular businesses.

“We give money to many organizations, so we’re not just a bar,” Lusk said. “I understand a lot of businesses profit from this; we’re not one of them.”

That suggestion was one reason City Council members wanted to send the fee question back to the Finance Committee.

“We might want to take a look at that,” said Ald. Edward Bugg, 9th Ward, a Finance Committee member.

Ald. Sherman Jenkins, at large, said one reason the council delayed the fee question two weeks ago was to hold a meeting between the city and interested parties, such as bars, restaurants and clubs.

Aurora Ald. Sherman Jenkins. (The Beacon-News)

“That did not happen,” Jenkins said. “We need to consider (them) before we take a vote on this. We need at least to have a meeting of the minds.”

Under the city’s current fee structure, the terminal operator – which in the state law is called a distributor but either way is the entity supplying the machines – pays an application fee of $250 and an annual citywide license fee of $1,000.

A licensed establishment pays only a fee of $25 for each machine, each month.

Mayor Richard Irvin pointed out that the city’s “intent was to give favor” to the licensed establishments.

“Our intention was to have the licensed establishments pay a lot less,” he said.

Many city laws across the state were like that, and the state decided to change statewide law to mandate that the fees be shared equally between terminal operators (which the state calls distributors) and licensed establishments.

The law does allow for the terminal operators to pay the licensed operators fees for them, provided a written, signed agreement is reached between the two.

Aurora’s proposed changes to the fees, which would take effect Oct. 1, would change the $1,000 citywide license fee to a license for each location of $1,000, to be shared between the terminal operators and the licensed establishment.

The monthly terminal fee of $125, which had been allocated $100 for the terminal operator and $25 for the licensed establishment, would be evenly apportioned as well.

City officials estimated that for a licensed establishment, it would represent an annual cost of $750 for each machine, or an increase of $450 for each device. The total impact to a licensed establishment as a result of these changes would be between $950 and $2,750 each year, depending on the number of machines on site, officials estimated.

The fees would change again Oct. 1, 2023. The annual license fee would increase by $100 for each location and the monthly operational fee would increase by $50 a machine.

Officials estimated this would be an increase, for each machine, of $600, to be split evenly between the terminal operator and the licensed establishment. With the $100 location fee, it would increase that fee by between $350 and $1,500 annually, depending on the number of terminals.

City officials said this week a second proposal was simpler – to increase the fee to $4,250 for each machine, which would be split between the operators and establishments.

“We decided to make one change, to have one fee, that would be required to be split,” said Richard Veenstra, the city’s corporation counsel.

All of those proposed fees will be looked at by the Finance Committee.

slord@tribpub.com

More video gaming terminals coming to Utica – Shaw Local

More video gaming terminals coming to Utica – Shaw Local

Utica could get four to six new video gaming terminals, increasing the village total to 50 or more. (Matthew Apgar)

July 08, 2022 at 5:25 am CDT

Utica could get four to six new video gaming terminals, increasing the village total to 50 or more.

Thursday, the Utica Planning Commission unanimously recommended a special use be granted to Dale Senica to operate a bar with video gaming. His bar, Alley Cat’s, would be in the rear of 142 Mill St. — between Mill Street Market and Canal Port — accessible through the alley.

“I just want to bring back a neighborhood bar where a guy can come through the back alley and have a beer,” Senica said, adding later, “It’s going to look great when I get done.”

Thursday’s vote was only a recommendation; Senica needs the approval of the Utica Village Board, which meets Thursday, July 14. If approved, gaming terminals in Utica would climb by 10%.

The Illinois Department of Revenue reported Utica had 10 establishments with 46 gaming terminals, as of May 2022. Last year, the village collected a revenue share of more than $70,000.

Separately, the Planning Commission continues to tweak the sign ordinance and advanced two proposals.

One is intended to limit flashing or illuminated signs. The commission proposes that any sign with a “changing message” — an LED sign, for example — requires a special use before it can be raised anywhere in the village.

The commission also modified the rules governing murals or wall signs. The ordinance now governs any wall facing a public street or alley.

The sign discussion resumes Thursday, July 28.

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July 8, 2022 at 06:59AM

Game On: Palatine Approves First Nine Video Gaming Liquor Licenses

Game On: Palatine Approves First Nine Video Gaming Liquor Licenses

Palatine Village Council voted unanimously on Monday (June 20) to approve the first nine applications for the recently created Class VG liquor licenses, which will allow bars to install video gaming machines.

Village council legalized video gambling on April 11 after years of resistance as the state allowed fraternal organizations, such as the American Legion, to have the machines no matter what bans might be in place.

Village Manager Reid Ottesen told the council that 12 establishments applied for the license, but the remaining three still need to make modifications to comply with state and village regulations before they can go before the council. The list is a who’s-who of downtown bars including Durty Nellie’s and Lamplighter Inn as well as Gators Wing Shack and Alley 64 in the northeast Palatine, and south Palatine’s Donkey Inn and P’s & Q’s Restaurant and Lounge.

Now that the village approved the license, the bars will need to gain approval from the state. Village staff will then complete the final review. The process is expected to take at least another two months or longer, depending on how quickly the state processes applications.

Legalizing video gambling was part of the larger package of liquor license changes that sought to address overcrowding issues by reducing downtown bar hours. Many bars that ended up applying at the first opportunity have been arguing for years that video gambling revenue would help them invest back in the business, and it was offered as a way to make up for revenue losses stemming from reduced hours.

Aside from the aforementioned bars, other downtown applicants include JL’s Pizza & Sports Bar, Schnell’s Brauhaus and T.J. O’Brien’s.

Under the video gaming regulations the village council approved in lieu of the ban, gaming terminals can’t be visible from the outside. Each establishment can have no more than six video gaming terminals located in an area “separated [from the rest of the business] by a permanent opaque barrier with a minimum height of four (4) feet.”

Ottesen told the council on Monday that Lamplighter Inn, T.J. O’Brien’s and JL’s plan to locate the terminals in spaces separate from the bars, so they didn’t have to build any new partitions.

All applicants do need to upgrade and/or install new video cameras to comply with state and village security requirements. Most notably, Ottesen said, the security systems will need to store 30 days worth of footage, and cameras must be able to see within 25 feet of the entrance. He said that per Palatine municipal code, the bars will have signs alerting customers that they are under video surveillance.

He also said that, since the gaming terminals can’t be visible from the outside, one of the conditions for letting the terminals go live is that the windows the terminals would be visible through would need to have screenings.

The fee for a VG liquor license is $5,000 a year, plus $1,000 per terminal. The nine applicants are expected to bring in a total of $99,000 in revenue from the combination of license fees, a portion of user fees and percentages of winnings.

Under the current regulations, video gaming licenses would “terminate” effective July 1, 2024 unless the village council repeals that language. Ottesen told the council that what he heard so far has been promising.

“I was very pleased when I’ve met with [the applicants], because they were already discussing some of the renovations, investing back in their properties,” he said. “I don’t anticipate we’re going to have any problems. They’ve been very responsible through all of this.”

Mayor Jim Schwantz said that he was glad to hear this.

“Having a liquor license is a privilege, having a VG license is an ultra-privilege, and I think the owners here, the establishments, recognize that,” he said.

The post Game On: Palatine Approves First Nine Video Gaming Liquor Licenses first appeared on Journal & Topics Media Group.





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June 22, 2022 at 02:19PM

St. Charles loosens video gaming rules for businesses

St. Charles loosens video gaming rules for businesses

The city of St. Charles will no longer require businesses to wait a year in order to apply for a video gaming license. (Rob Winner)

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The city of St. Charles will no longer require businesses to wait a year in order to apply for a video gaming license.

At Monday’s meeting, the St. Charles City Council voted 7-3 to drop the one year waiting period. Voting “no” were 2nd Ward Alderperson Rita Payleitner, 4th Ward Alderperson Bryan Wirball and 1st Ward Alderperson Ron Silkaitis.

The state legalized video gaming in 2009 and St. Charles alderpersons in 2015 narrowly voted to allow video gaming. There currently are 107 gaming terminals inside 20 establishments in the city, St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan told alderpersons during the meeting.

Prior to the change, the city’s ordinance stipulated that businesses must operate for a one-year period before obtaining a video gaming license from the city. The issue had been discussed during the City Council winter workshop earlier this year.

“At the retreat, staff was directed to enhance opportunities for gaming operators and operations within St. Charles with some very narrow guidelines,” Keegan said.

The new rules prohibit video gaming cafes. Video gaming is allowed as an ancillary use only.

Should city officials suspect somebody is operating a video gaming cafe, St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek – who is the city’s liquor control commissioner – can require a license holder to provide financial, tax and operational records to the city.

While Payleitner said she was confident Keegan would help ensure that “everybody stays above board,” she voiced concerns about video gaming.

“I still see a great determent in video gaming,” she said. “For sure I don’t support expanding it.”

She is concerned that more people have been experiencing gambling problems since the introduction of video gaming.

“That’s the determent I’m talking about,” Payleitner said. “It’s not fights breaking out at machines. It’s just the addictive nature of it.”

Third Ward Alderperson Paul Lencioni applauded the changes.

“I applaud you for finding a way to get through this,” he said, in addressing Keegan.

Fifth Ward Alderperson Steve Weber also supported the changes.

“I think it’s important for everyone to realize that these business owners, most of them are local and live local,” Weber said. “They’re investing in our city, investing lots of money in our city to make it better. I think it’s OK for the city to help the businesses and provide them some flexibility within the ordinance.”

Flagship on the Fox opened in downtown St. Charles in June 2019 and has had video gaming since last December. Owner Steve Mayer said his restaurant hasn’t seen any problems since video gaming started.

“It doesn’t bring in a bad clientele and ideally it helps out the small business owner, it helps out the municipality and it helps out the state,” Mayer said.

Christina Barrutia, owner and manager of The Hive Tavern and Eatery in downtown St. Charles, said the new rules will help her business compete with other businesses that already have video gaming.







via Shaw Local

May 17, 2022 at 08:40AM

Peru finalizes scholarships to IVCC from video gambling revenue

Peru finalizes scholarships to IVCC from video gambling revenue

When video gamblers put money into one of the 183 terminals in Peru, a portion of the city’s share of the revenue will be going toward college scholarships for residents.

By Derek Barichello

May 10, 2022 at 5:31 am CDT

When video gamblers put money into one of the 183 terminals in Peru, a portion of the city’s share of the revenue will be going toward college scholarships for residents.

In 2021, 194 machines in 35 different establishments produced a net income of $7,512,371. Of that income, the city received a share of $375,618.

The Peru City Council voted unanimously Monday to allot $10,000 per year toward college scholarships for residents of all ages, not just college-aged students, to attend Illinois Valley Community College.

In the first year of the program, five students would be awarded $1,000 apiece for the school year, which would be $500 per semester. Then in the second year, five more students would be awarded $1,000 apiece and the previous five students would continue to receive $1,000 for the school year until they complete the two-year term.

“Peru is opportunity,” said Alderman Mike Sapienza, who coordinated the scholarships with IVCC. “We’re doing this to better our city and help residents.”

Sapienza said previously that IVCC would choose the students who receive the scholarships.

Mayor Ken Kolowski commended Sapienza for his work with IVCC in coordinating the scholarships, to which, Sapienza credited Kolowski with the idea. Sapienza was outspoken about spending marijuana sales tax revenue toward education, with the Kana Grove marijuana dispensary set to open in the city’s Route 251 business district in about a year. Other aldermen have suggested the city look into using the marijuana sales tax revenue for drug treatment and rehabilitation.

via Shaw Local

May 10, 2022 at 07:08AM

Peru finalizes scholarships to IVCC from video gambling revenue

Peru eyes awarding $10,000 in scholarships from video gaming revenue

The city of Peru is planning on providing $10,000 in scholarships annually for student residents to attend Illinois Valley Community College.

April 12, 2022 at 5:20 am CDT

The city of Peru is planning on providing $10,000 in scholarships annually for student residents to attend Illinois Valley Community College.

In the first year of the program, five students would be awarded $1,000 apiece for the school year, which would be $500 per semester. Then in the second year, five more students would be awarded $1,000 apiece and the previous five students would continue to receive $1,000 for the school year until they complete the two-year term.

The scholarship funds would come from the city’s video gaming revenue at this time. In 2021, 35 Peru establishments operating 194 terminals generated $7.5 million in net income. The city receives 5% of the income, which amounted to $375,618. Establishments keep about 33% of the profit, split between its distributor. Despite previous discussions by the council, video gaming terminal fees were not raised or discussed Monday.

Alderman Mike Sapienza has said he wanted to spend marijuana sales tax revenue toward education, but he is pleased to see gambling revenue going for the effort. Other aldermen suggested the city could seek to use marijuana sales tax revenue in part to donate to a treatment or rehabilitation center, but marijuana sales tax revenue is not expected to come until possibly 2023.

Sapienza said IVCC would choose the students who receive the scholarships. The city would be able to set its own parameters for the scholarship and will do so in its next phase of putting the program together, he said.

In other items Monday, the City Council:

  • Proclaimed April 10-16 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, recognizing telecommunicators who were invited to the meeting. Peru Police Deputy Chief Sarah Raymond said first responders relay on dispatchers and Fire Chief Jeff King said they are important to emergency response.
  • Approved $1,000 to the Peru CSO banner program to erect poles to place banners on North Peoria Street.
  • Approved purchase of $33,056 in switchgear from Anixter Power Solutions/WESCO for Pohar Crossing subdivision.
  • Approved purchase of $42,840 for a 2012 International 7400 SFA 4 x 2 Thompson truck and trailer.
  • Approved the purchase of a four-ton Falcon Recycle and Hot Box trailer from Midwest Paving Equipment Inc. for $36,304, which will be used to put new blacktop on roadways and fill potholes. The equipment is not expected to be delivered for 90 days, King said.
  • Approved the purchase of a $51,979 2021 GMC Sierra to be used for the engineering and zoning department.

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Palatine approves video gambling

Palatine approves video gambling

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Palatine’s village council Monday night voted to allow video gambling in the village beginning July 1.

Only one member of the council, Tim Millar, voted against it, saying his district opposed it.

Village Manager Reid Ottesen said as many as six terminals would be allowed.

Floor plans would be subject to the approval of the liquor commission.

Ottesen said applicants would need to be a liquor license holder for at least one year before applying for a video gaming license.

“That’s really designed so that we establish a track record with them as a license holder for a liquor license before we would consider this additional privilege,” he said.

No video gaming or signage will be allowed.

There will be a video gaming terminal fee of $1,000 per terminal. There will also be a $5,000 license fee for a video gaming license.

During the discussion at the Police Policy and Code Services Committee meeting prior to the full council meeting, Mayor Jim Schwantz declared his support, saying, “Everybody knows where I stand on gaming. I’ve been against gaming from the very beginning.”

He said that when the issue first came up in 2019, “My concerns were potential crime that can come with gaming.” But he said, “That’s been vetted. That’s not a problem. We understand that. We have talked to our police chief, and that’s something that’s been alleviated as far as my mind goes.”

He said he was also concerned about what it would look like.

“This is the town I grew up in. This is the town I have chosen to live in for the rest of my life. What’s the overall look of this town going to be? And I think that the ordinance calls that out. This is a very strict ordinance.”

Schwantz said one factor that convinced him was a sunset provision that is contained in the ordinance.

Video gaming fees will help fund body cameras for Highland Police Department

Video gaming fees will help fund body cameras for Highland Police Department

A plan to fund body cameras for the police department through video gaming fees is going forward after a vote by the Highland City Council. The council approved a $250 annual charge per video gaming terminal on Highland businesses on April 4. The fee is permitted by a new law that went into effect in December, allowing non-home rule communities to impose the fee. Highland has approximately 15 establishments with a total of 85 video game terminals. The fees generated would add about $20,000 a year to the city budget, which is intended to fund the body cameras that will be required of all Highland Police officers by 2025.

Councilwoman Peggy Bellm asked how the cost of the fee would be split, and City Manager Chris Conrad confirmed the $250 would be split 50-50 between the licensed establishment and the terminal operator.

“This will also be set up so they can pay quarterly, if they wish,” Conrad said. The body cameras will be purchased along with a planned upgrade of the in-car video camera systems, which allows the city to save some money on a step they will be required to take anyway in a few years. Conrad has said some communities are funding their body cameras with liquor license fees, but that would require Highland’s bars to front all of the cost. By linking it to the video gaming fees, he said, the cost is split with the video companies. The fee is scheduled to take effect in July when the licenses are renewed. Failure to pay the fee can be punishable by revocation of liquor license.

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April 12, 2022 at 07:07AM

Peru tables video gambling fee proposal

Peru tables video gambling fee proposal

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March 30, 2022 at 5:25 am CDT

With about 10 video gambling establishment proprietors in attendance Monday, the Peru Finance Committee decided to take more time to research changes to its video gambling terminal fee structure.

Mayor Ken Kolowski said the city has about 30 days to figure out a plan.

Initially, Kolowski said he would bring a fee proposal of $500 per machine to the Finance Committee and City Council for a vote, with the establishment owner and distributor splitting the fee 50/50, but he proposed a new plan pushing more of the fee onto the distributor.

The new plan would have each of the seven distributors in Peru pay a $10,000 flat fee to do business within the city. Despite the city’s home rule status, City Attorney Scott Schweickert said the proposal is at risk of being challenged in litigation by one of the distributors, because the state’s statute says the proprietor and distributor have to share the fee.

During public comment, establishment proprietors shared the same concern, saying they were afraid the distributors would bill them to share the city’s fee, potentially creating a scenario where the business owners foot a substantial bill.

Kolowski said the whole goal is to collect more money from the companies taking it away from the city and not burden the city’s local business owners.

The Finance Committee decided to table the issue until its next meeting, asking Schweickert to seek more information. The fees are collected May 1 during liquor license renewals.

Alderman Mike Sapienza suggested the city could increase the fees incrementally over a period of years to lessen the burden of a sudden increase. At this time, the city charges $35 per machine. Some communities, such as Streator, have raised the fees to $250 per video gambling machine, which is the maximum a non-home rule community can charge.

So far in 2022, there were 179 machines operating in 32 establishments, netting $1.3 million in total income. The previous year, there were 194 machines operating in 35 establishments in Peru, netting $7.5 million in income — even with machines being shut down the first 16 days of the year. With their share of the revenue, the city collected $375,618 and the state $2.1 million.

Video gaming terminal fee increase tabled after protests from local business owners

Video gaming terminal fee increase tabled after protests from local business owners

Mike Arians stands by the six video gaming terminals located in The Road House, a bar in Oregon owned by his daughter, Amy Marquis. Arians runs the establishment day-to-day. The Oregon City Council is considering raising the annual fee per terminal from $25 to $250, an increase allowed by a recent change in state law. If the fee is raised, local proprietors would pay half; the company that owns the machines would pay the other $125. (Alexa Zoellner/Shaw Media)

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OREGON — Oregon City Council members again put off deciding whether to raise the annual video gaming terminal fee.

At their March 8 meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to table the matter until May 24. The annual fee is charged on June 1, City Administrator Darin DeHaan said.

“It gives us time to go back and look at pre-COVID and COVID revenue [from the gaming terminals] and see how much of an impact that made,” Finance Commissioner Terry Schuster said.

The matter originally was considered at the council’s Feb. 23 meeting, but council members postponed making a decision after hearing protests from local business owners who rent video gaming terminals.

At the March 8 meeting, Mayor Ken Williams proposed tabling the matter for a year to give businesses a chance to use profits from the terminals to assist in recovering revenue lost from COVID-19 impacts.

“We could wait a year without any harm to the city and then when we do it, we do it as a tiered basis,” Williams suggested.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board’s video gaming monthly revenue reports, Oregon made $173,685.95 from video gaming terminal taxes and fees in 2021.

In a separate interview, DeHaan said $40,000 of that money, goes into the city’s General Fund to support general operational expenses, $50,000 goes into the City Hall Capital Improvement Fund to help pay for the upkeep of the building and the remainder is allocated to the Economic Development Fund.

“[The Economic Development Fund supports] things that spur economic growth, like downtown flowers, landscaping and watering, to our contract with an economic development consultant, website design and maintenance, brochures, newsletters, some facade grants, etc.,” DaHaan said. “We also used it to help get the Farmers’ Market started last year.”





via Shaw Local

March 8, 2022 at 10:50PM

Danville aldermen support increasing video gaming licenses by three | News

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DANVILLE — The Danville City Council’s Public Services Committee voiced support Tuesday night for the city to increase its available video gaming licenses from 30 to 33 to allow the three businesses on the city’s waiting list to each have one.

The full city council is expected to act on the change at its 6 p.m. March 1 meeting at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St. The council will start meeting again in person.

Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr told the committee the three businesses seeking video gaming licenses are: The Big Easy restaurant and banquet center at 310 Bryan Ave.; Stroud Liquors and the BP gas station, both on South Gilbert Street.

Regarding adding video gaming license classifications, Williams said the issue the city has is that the gaming and liquor ordinances are essentially tied together.

Williams said the city needs to update its liquor license and gaming license ordinances, but that could take several months.

He said the liquor license ordinance hasn’t been updated in decades, and he, City Clerk Lisa Monson and Corp. Counsel James Simon think it needs to be completely rewritten.

Williams said with businesses in the community they hoped to support, one option, which aldermen supported instead of waiting months for an ordinance rewrite, would be to increase the number of gaming licenses by three now to allow the city to get the current businesses off the waiting list.

“We could just simply have a temporary fix,” Williams said.

Then the city could put a moratorium on gaming licenses until the ordinances were revised.

“That sounds good to me,” Alderman Rick Strebing said.

Williams said this would help businesses in the short term, but also not allow video gaming machines on every corner.

In response to Alderwoman Eve Ludwig on if the gaming licenses could increase still later on, Williams said it’d be difficult to go back on the 33 when businesses make those investments. He also said he sees the gaming licenses number possibly going up a little more as new restaurants or bars come into the city and want to have gaming.

He said he doesn’t think the public has a problem with a little higher of a number, but they don’t want gaming parlors everywhere.

“I think we have to be careful of the number of general licenses …,” Williams said, adding that the city wants to be business-friendly but respect residents by not having an oversaturation of the gaming parlors.

In other business, the committee:

  • Heard Alderwoman Tricia Teague ask about a $1,486 cost to CK Reporting for a deposition in the city’s vouchers payable. Williams said this was regarding a deposition he gave in the casino lawsuit.
  • Recommended approving a budget amendment for the legal department to acquire a laptop for the assistant city attorney’s use because the information technology department has advised it has no such devices available for use by the assistant city attorney. This is due to the need for service of summonses for municipal court defendants including out-of-state services. The $3,400 budget amendment will be paid by the city’s general fund reserves.
  • Recommended authorizing a police department budget amendment for online training expenses for the deputy chiefs of $8,000 that meet the spending requirements of the police secured funds but exceed the remaining balance. The increase is paid with police secured funds Reserves.
  • Recommended approving an intergovernmental agreement between Danville School District 118 and the Danville Police Department for the services of one of the city’s police officers to perform the duties of a School Resource Officer (SRO) at North Ridge Middle School, an officer to serve as an SRO at Danville High School, and an additional one of the city’s police officers to serve as an SRO shared between Danville High School and Kenneth D. Bailey Academy.
  • Heard City Comptroller Ashlyn Massey say that Deputy Comptroller Kristen Landis has started with the city this week. Landis comes from Clifton Larson Allen. The community development division also saw Planner 1 Natasha Elliott resign. Massey also told the aldermen that they’ve had questions about the public receiving Homefield Energy letters. She said the letters are legit, as they are legally obligated to notify customers about switching to the city’s aggregate rate and explain how they’d enroll in the municipal program.

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February 22, 2022 at 11:04PM

East Dubuque council raises cannabis, video gaming fees to reinvest in community

BY BENNET GOLDSTEIN bennet.goldstein@thmedia.com

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EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — City officials in East Dubuque intend to take advantage of two recent revenue-generating tools at their disposal.

City Council members this week decided to raise fees for both cannabis establishments and video gaming terminals with the intent of reinvesting the income into city beautification and safety projects.

Cannabis license fees

East Dubuque receives regular sales tax and an additional 3% excise tax from sales at any cannabis dispensaries within city limits.

“If you want the dispensaries to do more for our town, you would increase the license fee,” City Manager Loras Herrig said.

Noting that some Illinois communities charge as much as $180,000 for an annual license, he proposed several ordinances that would increase the annual permit fee for cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries from the current $1,500.

The council unanimously voted for a $25,000 annual license fee.

“We’ve got a lot of projects going on, as we all know,” Council Member Chad Biermeier said. “A lot of money is going to go to those projects, so if … we can raise that fee to hit some of these things, I think it’s a good decision.”

Only one dispensary — The Dispensary East Dubuque, 1709 Illinois 35 N. — operates in the city. Owner Dan Dolan could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In December, the council reduced the minimum distance between licensed dispensaries from 15,000 feet to 5,000 feet, paving the way for up to two additional establishments to open within city limits.

New businesses would be subject to the increased fee prior to their opening. Dolan’s existing license is due for renewal in May, Herrig said, at which point he would pay the elevated fee.

Video gaming

City leaders also are taking advantage of a recent change to state law that enables officials in some cities to impose an annual fee of $250 per video gaming terminal. The fee previously was capped at $25 per year.

The East Dubuque council unanimously approved increasing the fee to $250 annually.

A recent update to the new law requires that the fee be shared between the owners of the gaming terminals and businesses in which they are located, so Herrig proposed developing a program to reimburse establishment owners for their increased costs.

“The goal is never to charge the bar owners more,” he said. “It was to get increased revenue for the city.”

Currently, 15 East Dubuque establishments host 84 video gaming terminals. At the new rate, they would generate $21,000 in revenue for the city each year before reimbursements, which would reduce new city revenues to $10,500.

The new terminal fees take effect Dec. 1.

Herrig intends to meet with terminal hosts today to solicit feedback.

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February 9, 2022 at 02:02AM