GODFREY - Liquor and gaming licenses were the subject of further discussion at the Godfrey Village Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, August 2. Trustees Sarah Woodman and Mike Fisher are part of a new committee looking into setting rules and regulations on liquor license requests - while Fisher was absent, Woodman asked her fellow trustees how they felt about the subject.
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“Trustee Fisher and I have met a couple times with some questions and concerns - I think our major concern comes up when we talk about video gaming,” Woodman said. “I myself don’t want more video gaming in Godfrey. I’d hate to see us become a community of gaming machines everywhere you look.”
She said she and Fisher have been looking into what some other nearby communities have been doing about liquor/gaming licenses. She noted that while Godfrey charges $500 per year in liquor license fees, the village charges nothing for video terminal licenses - unlike the communities of Troy, Edwardsville and Alton. Woodman said she and Fisher were considering implementing a yearly fee on video terminal licenses.
The current process to get a gaming license involves getting a Class A liquor license from the village, then getting a gaming license from the State of Illinois. Woodman said Illinois has a financial incentive to approve several gaming licenses to bring in more revenue for the state, despite what local municipalities might want. The discussion then shifted to how businesses can achieve the right balance of gaming and other business.
“How does Godfrey instill the fact that we want to promote good restaurants and businesses … without adding more gaming?” she asked. “Then you have the issue of monitoring that. Just how do you, in effect, go out and check if this establishment is in compliance of that rule?”
One suggestion was to put an official ordinance on the books establishing a required ratio of food to alcohol sales at establishments selling alcohol. Trustee Jeff Weber asked what percentages other communities had in place, and the general consensus was about 50% food and 50% alcohol. Weber and Woodman both said most businesses should have sales records on the books that would easily prove their alcohol-to-food sales ratios and determine their compliance.
Mayor Mike McCormick said he’s currently in talks with a liquor store owner considering a Godfrey location, and thinks the business would make a nice addition to the village, but is concerned that type of business wouldn’t fit the criteria of a 50/50 food/alcohol sales requirement, despite gaming not being its primary business.
Trustee Craig Lombardi said while he agreed he didn’t want to see Godfrey overrun with gaming, he also wanted to ensure business owners are being treated equally by the village and not discouraging people from opening businesses in the village.
“You can’t say ‘good’ to this one and not that one,” Lombardi said. “I do love the 50/50. My personal opinion is that I’m not the biggest fan of the gaming, but you don’t want to penalize these businesses from coming here because their whole job is to make money … there’s a fine line of where you’re going here.”
Trustee Rick Lauschke said the main question for him was, “What are they contributing to the community?” and that gaming should not be a business’s main contribution to the community nor its main source of revenue.
No official action was taken on liquor/gaming licenses at this meeting, as the item was just for discussion, but tonight’s discussion may inform future ordinances setting rules and regulations on liquor/gaming licenses.
One other agenda item asked for the consideration and approval of a liquor license for Rules Foods, owned by Kroger, Inc., which plans to use the license for a “Beer of the Month” promotion. The item was tabled for now until further distinctions can be made between liquor license classifications A and B.
A full recording from the Aug. 2 meeting is available at the top of this story or on the Riverbender.com Facebook page.
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