By Bob Balgemann


The village is receiving additional federal funding to help defray the negative, financial impacts brought about by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, that struck the world in March 2020. 

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Machesney Park has been allocated $3,082,806.84 to be used on eligible expenses as outlined by the U.S. Treasury. The village initially received $969,405 in 2020, also to help defray pandemic-related costs, which was used to for public safety payroll. 

Finance and Human Resources Manager Michelle Johannsen provided details on the new appropriation to the administration and finance committee (A&F) at its Sept. 7 meeting. 

ARPA has provided $19.53 billion to non-entitlement units of local governments, for towns that serve populations of under 50,000, she explained. The village has until Dec. 31, 2024, to obligate the funds and until Dec. 31, 2026, to spend the funds. Right now, she said the village is continuing “to review guidance on eligible uses and to determine the best use of the funds for the village.” 

Machesney Park expects to receive half of the $3-million-plus in October 2021, with the balance six months from now. 

A&F was considering Ordinnce 43-21, which authorized the village to accept the funding, agree to the terms and conditions, and agree to the Title VI assurances. After final approval by the village board, which was expected on Sept. 20, the village’s allocation will be requested before the Sept. 30 deadline. 

A&F’s recommendation for approval was forwarded to the board that night, where it was approved unanimously on first reading as part of the consent agenda. 

Liquor licenses 

Also Sept. 7, the village liquor commission had three agenda items starting with clean-up action to be sure the number of active liquor licenses matched the number allowed in village code. 

That came about when Chipolte, holder of a Class R license; Chuggers, holder of a Class A license; and Short Stop, holder of a Class B license, all said they were not renewing this year. 

Ordinance 45-21 decreased the number of Class A licenses from eight to seven; and the number of Class B licenses from 15 to 14. Class R has no limit, so no change was needed. Class A licenses allow on-premises consumption and retail carryout in original packaging; Class B licenses allow retail carryout in original packaging, with no-site consumption; and Class R licenses allow on-premises consumption only for restaurants, where 50 percent of the sales is food. 

The commission without comment recommended approval of those changes. 

Next up was Ordinance 46-21, which increased the number of Class B and Class BB licenses while approving those licenses for the new Pit Stop Convenience and Gaming businesses at 7918 Scott Lane. Because those licenses are new, the number of Class B licenses was increased from 14 to 15; the number of Class BB licenses from five to six. 

Class BB licenses allow on-premises consumption, where there are video gaming terminals. 

There was discussion of this request from both the commission and a neighbor, Gunnel Stewart. 

Administrative Assistant Penny Olson offered the background, saying this was a unique situation where three different liquor establishments would be under one roof. There would be two different entrances while customers would share the same bathroom. 

“Liquor will not be allowed between the two businesses, meaning you can’t go from the store to the bar boutique with any alcohol,” she explained. 

Commissioner Jake Schmidt asked about the hours of business and whether the video games would be in operation during those hours. 

Applicant Nick Shutkas answered the hours would be daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and that the video games would be in operation during that time. 

Neighbor Gunnel Stewart, a 63-year resident of the village, said her concern the business would generate a lot of noise. “I am not fond of living next to a liquor and gaming establishment, as I believe both liquor and gambling are bad for society as a whole,” she added.

“Some people end up dependent on either or both, as the two seem to go together. We have too many of these establishments in Machesney Park, as well as the surrounding area. There is a church right across from the building on the other side of Scott Lane. I urge you to please vote ‘no’ on this request.” 

Staff recommended approval. Seven conditions accompanied issuance of those licenses. 

There was no further discussion, and the commission in a unanimous voice vote with one abstention recommended approval of the request. The village board was expected to consider the matter at its Sept. 20 meeting. 

Finally, the commission recommended approval of Resolution 54-R-21, for the property at 8320 N. Second St., currently SA Express Mart, owned by Jasprett Gill, who obtained a Class B liquor license on Sept. 17, 2013. The business now is being sold with a new name of LBS Express Mart to applicants Lakhbir Singh, Baljinder Singh and Sukhvir Singh. 

“The method and style of business will remain the same, with no significant changes,” Administrative Assistant Olson said. “This is mere a change of ownership and the Class B liquore licenses do not need to be increased as the new owners are just taking over the business.” 

A Class B license allows retail carryout in original packaging, with no on-site consumption. 

Staff recommended approval and the only question came from Commissioner Schmidt, who asked if the car wash property was exempt from that night’s action. 

“I don’t think they plan to do that building at this time,” Village Administrator James Richter II replied. 

The commission in a unanimous voice vote recommended approval of the request, which was expected to be considered by the village board on Sept. 20.

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