BATAVIA – The sound of pinging and the sight of flashing lights will be coming soon to some Batavia taverns, restaurants, social clubs and entertainment venues.
As expected, the Batavia City Council approved video gambling in the community at its Nov. 21 meeting, despite the objections of residents who cited gambling’s social costs.
Aldermen voting to lift the ban said they were responding to requests from local business owners. Representatives from Batavia Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1197, the downtown Bulldog’s Cellar tavern, and the west-side Crosstown Pub had spoken in favor of lifting the ban at a previous committee meeting.
They said businesses need the machines both for the revenue and to remain competitive with establishments in nearby communities that offer video gambling.
State law allows five video gambling machines in an establishment. Municipalities receive 5 percent of revenues, and may charge a licensing fee for each machine. The city could expect to receive $120,000 a year, on top of an annual $25 fee per machine, if 12 businesses in Batavia each install five of the machines, according to City Administrator Laura Newman.
In other business, the City Council:
• Rejected a developer’s proposal to construct a 12-unit apartment building at 1600 W. Wilson St., on a parcel of land between Spuhler and Independence drives, just east of Randall Road. The city-owned, half-acre site was once the location of the west-side water tower. City code would allow for only nine units on the site. Residents of Spuhler and Feece drives had objected to the plan.
• Approved Mayor Jeff Schielke’s appointment of Kyle Hohmann to serve on the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission. Hohmann recently resigned his seat as 3rd Ward alderman because he moved out of the ward to another location within the city.