By CLINT WOLF
SOUTH BELOIT — The South Beloit City Council discussed possibly increasing the number of video gaming licenses it offers and increasing the fee for those licenses during the council meeting Monday.
The city currently offers four BG or Boutique video gaming licenses. These licenses are for businesses that derive the majority of their revenue from gaming. There are restaurants and taverns in the city that also have video gaming licenses, but most of their revenue does not come from gaming.
There have been several requests for new boutique licenses in the city, but councilors said they did not want to have too many of these gaming establishments in the city.
“I have no problem with having more licenses, but 70 percent of the funds from these places go out of town,” said council member Tom Fitzgerald.
He said he would prefer to issue licenses to local business owners and operators, not someone who lives in Chicago and just has a storefront in South Beloit.
Assistant City Attorney Aaron Szeto said state statute currently doesn’t allow cities to set the criteria for issuing licenses. The council will talk further about gaming licenses and the fees charged for them at a future meeting.
The council gave conditional approval for a request to hold a Blessing of the Animals event and family picnic in City Park on Sept. 10. Angels 4 Animals, a Rockford based animal rescue group, is planning the event where rescued animals can be blessed and a picnic will follow. The event will have crafts and art on display and food vendors as well as pet supply vendors will be at the event.
Council members asked that the food vendors be limited to three and that no vehicles be parked on the grass areas of the park.
The council also approved amendments to the city zoning map, changing several properties from single family to heavy industrial. This action is part of the annexation of Mid States Concrete Company into the city.
The council reviewed the audit for 2016, which was prepared by the Benning Group.
Kurt Kleckler of the Benning Group said South Beloit is not unlike many small cities that are struggling to make ends meet, but it is better off than some cities that are dealing with heavy borrowing to meet financial obligations.
“The elephant in the room is the pension liability,” Kleckler said, noting the city will continue to face growing needs to pay more into the police pension fund.
In other matters, the council took action of the following items:
• The position of a full-time waste water technician will be advertised. The position became open with the retirement of John O’Brien who worked at the city wastewater treatment plant.
• A Dorr Road pavement improvement project was awarded to Rock Road Company at a cost not to exceed $98,426.87. Motor fuel tax funds will be used for the project.
• A pavement crack filling project was awarded to Behm Pavement Maintenance for a cost not to exceed $9,010. Motor fuel tax funds will be used for the project.