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Gaming licenses were again the topic of discussion, and a little dissention, at the Vandalia City Council meeting Monday night, May 3. The city’s small business awards were also presented at the meeting.
“I didn’t want the issue to die on the table, and wanted to bring it back for discussion,” said Mayor Ricky Gottman, in referring the recent gaming license discussions at council meetings.
Andy Lester said to start the discussion, that he believed there were enough parlors in town, and he was “standing pat” on that belief. He said he was not against local businesses having the machines, but just not the “parlors.”
Steve Barker reiterated several times during the meeting that the council owed two former applicants an apology for the process taking so long to make a decision on the licenses, city one of those applications was submitted in January.
“We should be able to get the information and respond within two meetings,” Barker chided.
He went on to say that instead of having to request information on the issue, all pertinent information should have been sent out to the councilmen. He said with city revenues expected to be even more stretched in the coming year, he did not want to see any revenue sources automatically turned away.
Russ Strunkel told the council he went out and asked residents about the issue and he reported overwhelmingly the consistent message was “enough is enough.”
Newly elected councilman Kenny Lewey told those gathered that in these situations he typically looks at employment and the number of jobs created. After hearing that with an increase in licenses, the city could see the number of machines exceed 100, he was “out.”
Barker requested the issue be brought to a vote at the next meeting, to increase the number of Class ”J” licenses by two.
Gottman announces that he was against voting for another parlor in Vandalia, and not because he is not economically driven.
The rest of the discussion centered on jobs and income discussions as relating to the issue.
Small business awards
During the meeting, the city gave out six small business awards, with the 2021 Small Business of the Year going to Stacy and Traci Stewart of Vandalia Asphalt.
Other awards given out were: 2021 Community Involvement Business of the Year – The FNB Community Bank, Mike Radliff; 2021 Veteran-Owned Business of the Year – Baan Thai Restaurant, Daniel Cook; 2021 Non-Profit Agency/Group/Club of the Year – Family YMCA of Fayette County, Ben Frazier; 2021 Female-Owned Business of the Year – Country Folk, Tina Kingery, and 2021 Economic Impact Business of the Year – Witness Distillery, Rick and Cindy Radliff.
In other business, the council:
• saw elected officials sworn into office;
• heard the mayor’s report, which included notifying alderman to let him know about their interest on serving on city committees, the upcoming Illinois Municipal League meetings, and other matters;
• heard from City Administrator Tisha Paslay she is looking into getting iPads for the council and officers instead of printing off so many sheets of paper per week;
• heard from Steve Barker that the city street crews are out and about repairing streets, including a sinkhole by the senior citizens building, and
• heard Lester’s opinion that the sidewalk budget should be increased so the city can do more work in the area.