STERLING – The City Council approved an ordinance to conform to changes in state law related to gambling, but not without some opposition from council members.
The changes to the ordinance are part of Senate Bill 690, which was signed into law in June and took effect July 1. The bill allows a business to increase the number of video terminals from five to six, ups the maximum wager from $2 to $4, and raises the maximum cash award from $500 to $1,199.
Businesses that meet the definition of a licensed large truck stop – those on three acres, within 3 road miles from a freeway interchange, with a convenience store and a past fuel sales averaging at least 10,000 gallons a month – can have up to 10 terminals.
“Whether you pass this or not, state law governs how many terminals establishments can have,” city attorney Tim Zollinger said.
Alderman at large John Stauter said he was “a little disappointed” that the council needed to add the additional terminals but understood it was beyond council’s control.
“I’m not sold that’s exactly the greatest way to earn revenue for the state of Illinois,” Stauter said.
Alderman at large Jim Wise said the state should have consulted with municipalities or at the very least allowed an opt-out option.
“They continue to pile it on without giving us, municipal councils, the opportunity to take a personal stand,” Wise said. “As the mayor said, we’re not endorsing it.”
Wise and Ward 2 Alderwoman Chris Wilen voted against the ordinance.
Ward 4 Alderman Joe Martin, who made the first motion to approve the ordinance, said he approves of the change because it’s another source of revenue the city could use that would ultimately go elsewhere.
He said the city “hasn’t been a moral leader” when it comes to liquor and doesn’t think there’s much of a difference between liquor and gambling terminals. He added the he would like to see what would happen if the city were to match the amount of terminals in Dixon.
“I don’t hear anyone else calling Dixon ‘Little Reno’ and yet they’re getting another $60,000 of revenue that we’re not getting each year,” Martin said.
The council also passed an ordinance to establish a no knock registry that residents can use to avoid permitted solicitors from knocking on their doors.
Because people move, residents will need to annually apply with city police said Chief Tim Morgan. He said registration expires April 30 but there will be an effort to send out renewal notices before April 30.
Residents can also still request a “no solicitors” sticker.
“It just gives us more ammunition to stop these guys when they’re being aggressive,” Morgan said.
Solicitors will be given a list of addresses of the homes that are on the registry after they receive a permit to sell door-to-door. Those who violate the registry could face a $75 to $750 fine for each violation.