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Sugar Grove won’t revisit vote over video gambling

SUGAR GROVE – After voters signaled their approval of video gambling in an April 9 advisory referendum, members of the Sugar Grove Village Board agreed Tuesday not to revisit the vote that took place earlier this year to legalize it.

When the board voted to legalize video gaming in January, board members decided to weigh voters’ opinions of the issue through an advisory referendum. If voters had disapproved, they had planned to possibly take another vote, but the board decided against that at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The issue initially came forward when members of the Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 requested that the board consider video gambling because they were losing customers to nearby competitors that had gaming machines. Cliff Barker, chaplain for the American Legion, said the video gaming machines have been on since Wednesday.

“The crowd is definitely coming back,” he said. “It was probably the fullest Saturday night we’ve had without an organized event going on. It’s definitely made a difference so far.”

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the board adopted its 2013-14 budget, which includes funds for a part-time administrative officer position for the village’s police department, should the village decide to hire someone.

As the village moves forward with selecting its new police chief, which it hopes to complete in May, board members want to gauge the needs of the new chief before hiring someone to the administrative officer position. The part-time salary would be about $40,000.

Village President Sean Michels said he didn’t think the position is necessary because sergeants are able to execute those duties, which helps them keep tabs on what’s going on.

Trustee Rick Montalto said the position could eventually become a full-time job, and the administrative officer could be responsible for long-term projects, such as working toward police department accreditation.

“It could be a go-to person for projects like this,” he said.

At a March 5 budget workshop, the budget reflected a surplus of nearly $151,000, but several changes since then have pared down the surplus to about $42,000. The surplus was decreased by several expenses, including a citizen survey that cost $15,000.

The general capital projects fund reflects a deficit of about $58,000, which had increased from about $7,700 since the March 5 budget workshop.

Improvements to an outside salt storage facility at a cost of about $60,000 increased the deficit.

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