Update: More from Bloomington last night

I emailed Mboka last night about this vote. He answered a few minutes ago. This is the explanation he provided on why a re-vote will be taken:

The Illinois Municipal code requires 5 votes one way or another for an ordinance and that’s why it will come back. Had 5 voted against it last night it wouldn’t come back.

By: Diane Benjamin

City Manager Tim Gleason’s raise was not pulled from the Consent Agenda, so it was approved with no discussion. Celebrate serfs: The minutes of the Executive Session where the raise was decided will never be released. The City is still holding discussions that took place for the last 2 City Managers. TOP SECRET! You get the bill without ever knowing why you now have a guy being paid over $202,000.

This item was pulled by Sheila Montney:

Bloomington passed an ordinance in 2019 limiting the number of licenses for video gaming to 60. In a free society there would be no limit, 60 means the City gets to pick who scores big and who doesn’t get to participate. If terminals existed everywhere the novelty would wear off and 60 locations would not be reaping all the profits at the expense of every other location. Of course the “law of unintended consequences” would rear it’s ugly head as more people would be dropping money in the machines, often the least able to afford it.

See this map of where the current license holders are, many in west and south Bloomington: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/26785/637638384407930000

The revised ordinance would allow staff to use licenses for economic development. Currently one local business was “promised” a license but none are available. 3 other businesses are on the waiting list.

Sheila reported that Bloomington is already in the top 10 Illinois cities gambling. To date this year residents have lost $190,000,000. The City will earn around $775,000, the State gets 30%. That is money leaving Bloomington! She reported other cities are raising the tax rate because the windfall doesn’t cover the challenges cities face because of video gaming. She also recounted a murder that took place after a winner was following out by a thief who wanted the winnings.

The discussion was quite long, don’t miss Tim Gleason at 50:25. He thinks a license may be necessary to land a new truck stop or a hotel by the Coliseum. (stop laughing)

Before the vote 2 sections of the ordinance were removed, both pertained to staff making development agreements that require video licenses. Montney called that situational unfairness since other business are on the waiting list. The only change up for a vote pertained to license transfers. The language was clarified to say it could only be transferred to a new owner in the same location.

The vote is where it got weird. I had to ask the City Clerk what the vote was because Mayor Mwilambwe didn’t ask for the results. The only thing on video is 4-3, he didn’t say if that was for or against. Attorney Jeff Jurgens stated 5 votes were needed to change an ordinance which means it failed. Donna Boelen immediately made a motion to table the issue until the next meeting. I have no idea how it is legal to re-vote next week after the changes were defeated! Only Montney voted against that motion.

Here’s what the City Clerk told me:

Boelen, Crabill, and Emig voted no. That means Montney, Becker, Crumpler, and Ward voted yes.

I can’t tell you why 3 people voted No, the changes in the section left in the ordinance pretty benign, see the underlined:

Stay tuned for even more Bloomington!

The video below will start with Sheila Montney explaining why she pulled this item:

2 thoughts on “Update: More from Bloomington last night

  1. NO MORE LICENSES!! This city has enough machines and people who spend their rent, car payment, living money the way it is! IF a NEW business wants to come to town, they MUST wait in line like ANYONE else! Fair is FAIR!
    And when a truck stop gets a license, WHO is the signee? As when local people apply, there needs to be THREE in the deal, and NONE a felon!

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  2. First, why should there be a limited number of licenses on any business? People waste money on nails, restaurants, haircuts and giving to churches etc, shouldn’t there be a limited amount of these places in the city? I bet people spend money they don’t have at these places also. The council is not here to be the moral police of the community.

    Second, the numbers stated are misleading and can be looked up on the sate gaming website

    $190,000,000 was quoted as being lost and this isn’t true because the amount out was not subtracted so for the first 6 months the total lost was $11,000,000 not $190,000,000 quite a big difference

    The municipality share was $567,000 for the first 6 months so not sure how the yearly estimate is $775,000, this also doesn’t include the $500 per machine paid to the city annually by the establishments ( 282 x $500 = $141,000 )

    Let’s not fool ourselves people didn’t all of a sudden start gambling when the machines came to town. They went to Peoria Joliet Vegas Biloxi etc and that was taking money out of town. Now money is being spent locally so I would argue that money is not leaving town. Prior to this we had no idea how much money was being spent out of the city.

    Not a bad deal sending out 60 license renewals and cashing checks for over a $1,000,000 a year in income that the city didn’t receive before the games became legal.

    The city has a few more issues that aren’t as profitable that require some more attention

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