By Bob Balgemann

Reporter

The most recent survey of water and sewer rates in northern Illinois, conducted by the city of Genoa, shows Belvidere’s are the lowest.

So possibly might be its fee for those who violate parking regulations downtown and elsewhere. But no longer, now that city council has increased that fee from $7 to $25 per offense.

After recommending approval of the adjustment on March 26, while sitting as the Committee of the Whole, aldermen in their capacity as the City Council approved the increase on second and final reading at its April 16 meeting.

Also going up is the amount being paid for video gaming machines by owners of the 21 establishments in which they are located. That proposal elicited plenty of discussion on March 26, before the committee voted 6-3 with one absent to recommend raising it from $100 to $500 per machine.

Those supporting the 500 percent increase were aldermen Michael Borowicz, Wendy Frank, Tom Porter, Mark Sanderson, Dan Snow and Clayton Stevens. Dissenting were aldermen Ron Brooks, George Crawford and Marsha Freeman. Crawford related that kind of an increase to “gouging.”

“My goodness,” Brooks said. “If you raised property taxes by 500 percent, everybody would have a heart attack.”

But Sanderson countered that video gaming was “one of the most lucrative businesses that there is. They’re (machines) everywhere. I think we just go for the $500.”

State law allows establishments to have a maximum of five gaming machines each. City Clerk Shauna Arco said that in Belvidere, where there are 21 establishments with machines. One has three machines, two have four and the rest have five. There currently are two proposals “in the works,” she said.

The city budget estimates $270,000 in revenue will be received from those machines during the current fiscal year, which ends April 30.

Parking discussion

At the March 26 meeting, Mayor Mike Chamberlain talked about his experience at lunch one day when he asked people how much they thought Belvidere charged for a packing ticket.

“None got it right,” he said. “They were surprised when I told them it was $7. They couldn’t believe it was so low. Now we’re considering whether it’s time to re-evaluate that.”

Alderman Snow asked if the city issued a lot of tickets and if the fines, if increased, would be…

For complete article, pick up the April 25 Belvidere Daily Republican.