Raffles legal in Morton

Adam Larck
mtn@timestoday.com

Raffles can now be conducted again in Morton without fear of legal issues.

The ordinance was approved by a 4-3 vote on Feb. 3 by the Morton Village Board. The three nay votes, Tom Daab, Sam Heer and Stephen Newhouse, were cast because they wanted to table the vote until next meeting, when a comprehensive ordinance for raffles and video gaming will be brought before the board by Heer.

Currently, taverns and veteran organizations still cannot have the state-regulated video gaming.

The ordinance has been changed since it was originally brought before the board. Organizations will no longer have to pay a fee to apply for a raffle permit.

The maximum price for a raffle ticket is $100, and the maximum prize can be $40,000.

During discussions, Daab said that both raffles and video gaming are both gambling and that some organizations used to have both in Morton before machines were made legal.

"I don't know why we're telling these people, these business owners, that they're second-class citizens," he said of businesses not allowed to have gaming machines.

Trustee Ginger Hermann said that the two forms of gambling are "radically different," but didn't give any examples how during her discussion.

Applications are currently available at the village office and will be online in a few weeks. The village clerk will approve or deny an application within 30 days of receiving a request. Included in those 30 days is a background check of applications that will take at least 15 days, according to Police Chief Craig Hilliard.

In other news, the board:

• Approved a liquor license to be used at the former Hoppers in Morton.

A new sports bar is being planned for the location.

• Approved a resolution and ordinance for the director of public works.

The resolution will allow Gary Sidell to build an underground detention facility for water at his residence so that he can have a backyard without a detention facility. The new construction will be paid for by Sidell.

The ordinance approved increases the fee for residential gas service line installation from $1,050 to $1,160.

• Heard an update on the status of the enterprise zone.

Planning and zoning officer Roger Spangler said that Morton would have to reapply for enterprise zone status before the end of this year.

One option being considered is pairing with Pekin and Tazewell to increase the chances of being approved from one of 49 available zones.

• Approved the purchase of a four-wheel drive vehicle for the fire department.

The vehicle, purchased from Lighthouse Automotive, cost $34,862.

• Ordered a public hearing before the plan commission regarding decorative masonry for businesses.

• Approved the release of closed session minutes.