• The way some business owners see it, the city is taking a gamble with its video gaming machines.
A resolution to impose a surcharge on all gaming machines in the city, to be paid every January, has been tabled until after the first of the year.
Some establishment owners who have the machines in their businesses would like to see it tabled permanently. Mac Lenhardt, owner of Mac’s Time Out; and Mike Paynic, owner of Bubby and Sissy’s, say the proposed fee is excessive.
“We are not saying to not have any fee on these machines, but I think $500 is a little drastic,” Paynic says.
Business owners receive approximately 34 percent of the profits from the machine, following a 25 percent cut that goes to the state, 5 percent to the local municipality, 34 percent to the machine vendors, and 2 percent for administrative fees.
“This is not a get rich quick scheme,” Paynic said. “Everyone else gets their cut before we get ours.”
Lenhardt says the only regional municipalities he could find charging a fee were Granite City and Collinsville.
“Granite City was $25, and Collinsville was $250,” he said.
Establishments can have up to five machines per location, and that number is determined by the machine vendors.
• The City Council was anticipated to pass a resolution on the new tax levy Wednesday, to go to ordinance for a final vote later this month.
The city plans to institute a 4.9 percent hike in the current levy, less than the 5 percent required necessitating a truth in taxation hearing, required by law. The city is waiting for information from the assessor’s office before knowing the dollar amount increase felt by taxpayers.
• The Illinois State Board of Education has awarded the Alton School District the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant.
The grant covers before- and after-school programs for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The funding is planned to go toward two after-school learning programs for elementary and junior high students. The five-year grant will be paid in yearly installments, totaling $1.2 million.