WASHINGTON — City Council members on Monday took another swing at raising video gambling license fees.
After tabling a proposal from city staff a week earlier, aldermen think they hit a home run with changes recommended by aldermen Brett Adams and Daniel Cobb.
No vote could be taken Monday because it was a committee of the whole meeting. It's possible a first reading of the license fee measure could be held next week at a regular council meeting.
In Washington, a business owner must have a Class A or Class E liquor license to offer video gambling. That stipulation is in place to keep out the video gambling cafes that have sprung up throughout the area.
Under the new fee proposal, the $500 annual video gambling license fee in place since 2012, when the city first approved video gambling, would remain the same for business owners.
The fee per machine for business owners would rise from $25 to $50 annually on all 37 machines currently in operation.
Machine owners do not currently pay any license fees.
Proposed annual fees for machine owners are $500 for a video gambling license at each establishment and $500 for each machine.
Establishments can have a maximum of five machines.
The new fees would remain in place for one year.
"It's about time for the machine owners to pay for licenses," said Alderman Dave Dingledine. "I don't think these (proposed) fees will force them to pull out their machines."
Adams has been adamant about not raising fees too much for business owners.
“The machine owners are taking in about $460,000 annually from the machines in our city,” he said last week. "We need to charge them something and figure out a small, palatable fee increase for our business owners.”
City officials are studying ways to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure projects. Raising video gambling license fees is part of that process.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.