Using gaming revenue

Though no action has been taken since the Vandalia City Council decided more than five months ago to hire a city administrator, one alderman has an idea of how to fund the salary for that position.
While in recent months the presence of gaming devices has been viewed by some residents as a negative, Alderman Neil Clark believes something good can come from them.
At Monday’s council meeting, Clark noted that the city’s revenue from 50 gaming machines for the first eight months of the current fiscal year has totaled $73,577.83.
Revenues for the entire fiscal year, Clark said, “should well exceed $100,000.”
And, he said, the figures do not include machines at two other sites, bringing the total number of gaming devices to 60.
With this kind of revenue, “We would be able to pay for a city administrator/economic development director,” Clark said.
The city council voted in 1997, as Rich Walker was nearing the end of his tenure as mayor, to switch from a mayor-alderman form of government to a city administrator form.
Vandalia has had two city administrators since then, Ron Neibert and Jimmy Morani, and the position has been vacant since Morani resigned in February.
The city attempted to fill that vacancy at that time, and, in fact, had hired a Northern Illinois man for the job. However, on his first scheduled day of work, John McIntyre informed the city that he had changed his mind.
After that failed attempt to fill the post, the council accepted Mayor Rick Gottman’s recommendation to hold off on hiring someone as a way of trimming the city budget.
The economic development responsibilities tied to the city administrator post were given to the director of economic development, but the council eliminated that position as a cost-cutting measure in June 2011.
At the council meeting on July 21 of last year, the council voted to advertise the city administrator opening.
Gottman said that $85,000 had been included in the new budget for the position, and that he believed it was time to fill it.
“We need someone eight hours a day” to handle the city’s administrative duties, Gottman said at that meeting.
In recent months, Alderman Russ Stunkel has asked about the status of hiring a city administrator, and Gottman told him that he was working on a job description and would be presenting to the council in the near future.

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