Willy's asks for liquor license to have state gaming devices

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The owner of a Vandalia business is asking for a liquor license even though he’s not interested in selling beer and wine.
That’s because in order to have gaming machines at this business, Will Baldock is required by the state to have a liquor license.
Baldock filed a request for a beer and wine license for Willy’s Drive-In after an official with the state’s gaming commission told him that he meets all requirements for gaming devices except possession of such a license.
“I’m not pushing the alcohol,” Baldock said, explaining that he wants to do the minimum when it comes to alcohol sales.
“Personally, I don’t want to fool with any alcohol, period,” he said.
It’s the gaming machines that he’s interested in, seeing it as a means of additional revenue.
Baldock said he plans to have the gaming devices in a structure adjacent to his existing business.
Asked by Alderman Dorothy Crawford what he would do it keep high school students out of the gaming area after school, Baldock said he believes that his employees will do a good job of keeping an eye on that area.
Baldock said he will do “whatever makes everybody happy” when it comes to setting up and operating the gaming devices.
Alderman Andy Lester asked the distance from Willy’s to the high school, as the city requires that a business be 200 feet from a school in order to hold a liquor license.
Baldock said that he “stepped it off,” and found that “from property line to property line, it’s roughly 400 feet.”
Now, it is up to the city council to decide whether to add a beer and wine license. If it approves an additional license, it will be up to Mayor Rick Gottman, as the city liquor commissioner to rule on the license application.
Also at the meeting, the council approved the low bid of Sheldon Schulte Construction of Vandalia for the replacement of 4,400 square feet of sidewalks.
The city received eight bids for the sidewalk work, and they ranged from Schulte’s low bid of $4.85/square foot to the high bid of $11 from Mettler Development of Highland.
Alderman Terry Beesley asked Gottman and Public Works Director John Moyer why there was such a range with the bids, and they didn’t have an answer.
“It was the same way when we did this a couple of years ago,” Moyer said.
In other action:
• The city received two bids for a new ladder truck for the city’s volunteer fire department, and those bids were opened during the council meeting.
Alderman Jerry Swarm, chairman of the public safety committee, announced that Pierce Manufacturing Co. of Appleton, Wis., submitted a bid of $798,600 for a truck with a 75-foot ladder. Pierce would cut the purchase price by just under $25,000 if the city pays for the truck upfront.
KME Fire Apparatus of Pennsylvania, through Mac’s Fire and Safety of Litchfield, submitted a bid of $720,829 for a truck with a 79-foot ladder.  
The public safety committee will meet with the officers of the Vandalia Volunteer Fire Department next Tuesday afternoon to go over the bids.
• After Gottman reported that Chief Jeff Ray has been experiencing major problems with his squad car, the council agreed to seek bids on a new squad vehicle.
Ray suggested that the council may want to consider buying a truck, which would give the department another four-wheel drive vehicle, and one with hauling capabilities.
• Gottman reported that Rick Cripe told him that he plans to file building permit applications for his multi-plex theater next week.
• The council approved the payment of $2,348 for continuing education classes for Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay.
• The council approved a handicapped parking space on St. Clair Street for Mother of Dolors Catholic Church.
• The council renewed the city’s agreement with Moran Economic Development of Springfield for technical services related to the city’s Tax Increment Financing program.
The city will pay the firm $1,560.
• The council observed a moment of silence for Lola Margaret Adermann, the mother of former fire chief Merle Adermann, and Linda England, a former school crossing guard for the city.