Planned increase in permits upsets bar owners in Rantoul | New



RANTOUL – Three restaurant / bar operators are not satisfied with the village’s plan to increase the prices of alcohol and gambling licenses.

Village officials said the increases were necessary to meet the increased costs incurred by the village.

Annual gaming terminal fees would drop from $ 50 to $ 100 per machine, except for clubs, which would remain at $ 50.

Liquor license fees would increase by $ 100 for bars (to $ 2,200), restaurants ($ 1,650), contract liquor companies ($ 2,200), golf courses ($ 2,200 ) and beer and wine sales ($ 1,650). Club fees would increase from $ 50 to $ 1,100.

The liquor licensing committee also recommended starting to charge companies that supply gaming terminals to local businesses $ 1,000 per machine.

The alcohol / gambling license fees were last revised in 2018 for the year 2018-2019.

Steve Kaufman, owner of Bud’s Bar, 122 N. Kentucky Ave .; Jamie Eaker, owner of Rantoul Pub, 114 E. Congress Ave., and Shooter’s Bar and Grill, 215 S. Tanner St .; and Kevin Applebee, owner of the 19th Hole Bar and Grill at Willow Pond Golf Course, 808 Golf Course Road, say the market doesn’t allow them to charge as much for alcohol as their Champaign-Urbana counterparts.

Kaufman said he met Mayor Chuck Smith and was told liquor license fees would not increase.

“Then I get a letter saying they would increase,” Kaufman said.

Smith told reporters the conversation took place in 2018, and he would not make such a promise.

Smith said he was “very disappointed that (Kaufman) made such a statement in an attempt to strengthen his case to the village council.”

Kaufman said the same day after they met, a Rantoul Police Detective, working with the State of Illinois, came to his business to perform an inspection. He said he was not happy.

“I would like to know where the village gets its information regarding our $ 2,200 liquor license,” Kaufman said. “According to our beer distributor, we are by far the highest in the region. Where is that from ?”

He said local and area bar owners “are obligated to buy our alcohol from the same distributors as Champaign-Urbana. Our beer from the truck costs $ 3 more than Watseka, Gilman and other distributors. I would like to know where the breakdown of the $ 2,200 (fees) comes from.

Eaker called the amount of money local bar owners have to pay for liquor licenses “ridiculous”.

“Our rates are all four times the price of other places,” she said, adding that she owned a bar in Rankin, where the alcohol charge was less than $ 500.

“We don’t stay open as late as in Champaign-Urbana. We don’t have any restaurants that stay open after 11 or 12 noon here. You can’t compete with the people who want to go to Champaign-Urbana to drink or do anything. We also don’t want to bring people from Champaign-Urbana who live in this neighborhood here because they then have to drive home when they are drinking. I want to keep the prices at a normal level for our community. We can’t do that if you increase the prices every year.

Eaker said the per-terminal gaming fee will increase to $ 100, while the state will also charge $ 100. She said she was hit twice because she owned two bars.

Eaker said she didn’t see much support from the village.

“I am very concerned about this for someone who owns a business like mine. My family has owned businesses for 30 to 40 years in this city.

Eaker said she asked if she could be a member of the Liquor Advisory Board, but was told it was a conflict of interest. She said she did not know when the committee was meeting and that she had never been informed of the meetings.

Smith said all meetings are open to the public and are published in the Rantoul press and on the village website.

Applebee said no one cares about paying taxes, but “It’s just the fact that some people aren’t aware that in the industry I’m in, no one is making any money.”

He said that an extra $ 350 a year might not sound like a lot, “but it’s $ 350 more than I have to write on my own checkbook.”

He said he was fed up with being “nickel and gray” and noted that the minimum wage rate had just gone up. He pointed out that last week it was announced that two golf courses in the area would be closing.

“It is the companies that pay taxes that support the village of Rantoul,” said Applebee. “There are only a limited number of businesses here. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate the support you have given me over the years.

Applebee said it was “almost petty” when the license fees were increased last year.

“You brought in about $ 3,500. Bad will, guys, don’t even realize you got out of that $ 3,500, why would you even? But then again, I think like a businessman. I don’t think like the government. That’s why I don’t get along very well with the government. Here we go again. It’s doubling.

Applebee said it has heard comments that companies that host gaming machines are making a lot of money.

“There are two companies that make a lot of money on gaming machines,” he said. “They are not in this room. They are not locals.

Applebee said it made $ 41,000 last year on games. His property taxes are $ 33,000, plus he has to pay over $ 7,000 in storm drainage fees, and liquor license fees increase his costs to over $ 42,000 per year.

Smith said the liquor committee recommended that gambling and terminal fees be increased from $ 50 to $ 100 for all non-club licensees and a 5% increase in all license fees. alcohol.

Administrator Hank Gamel said that looking at the proposed increases the cost would be $ 100 for “a full-service bar” and $ 50 for a restaurant, “so that doesn’t sound as blatant as it sounds. “.

Village administrator Scott Eisenhauer provided press charges charged by other communities in the area from 2019.

Champaign charges $ 2,400 for all non-temporary categories, including bar, restaurant, liquor packages, club, golf course and hotel. Urbana’s rates are much higher at $ 5,329 for the bar, $ 3,958 for the restaurant, $ 5,198 for the beer and wine package, $ 3,112 for the club, $ 5,496 for the golf course and $ 1,429 for the hotel. Muhammad, Savoy, St. Joseph and Gifford are inferior to Rantoul, ranging from a high of $ 2,000 for a bar license in Muhammad to $ 450 in Gifford. The bar license is the only category of liquor charges in Gifford.

“What do we do with this money? said trustee Gary Wilson. “It’s a lot of

Comptroller Pat Chamberlin said the license fees go to the general fund to pay for costs associated with policing, community development and planning.

Eisenhauer said the fees are designed for liquor license administration and law enforcement.

“Regarding the increased license fee, we recognize that, frankly, for raising $ 50, we don’t earn as much as the headache it might create,” Eisenhauer said. “This is designed to almost cover the cost of the expense claim process itself. “

He said it takes the assistant clerk two to three hours a year to take care of each machine for video games in terms of the application process and follow-up with the state of Illinois. He said the administration fee has increased for the village clerk and the police department.

Deputy village clerk Janet Gray said another ministry is also involved – building security.

“They have to apply every year to make sure everything is in place. It could take more than one visit, ”she said.

Wilson asked what the ramifications would be if tariff adjustments were delayed “until we have more income with the proposed building (of the sports complex) and people entering the village.”

Eisenhauer said the village “will deal with these particular issues at a loss.”

Kaufman said liquor establishments in Rantoul cannot charge as much as those in Champaign-Urbana, which charge $ 3.25 to $ 3.50 for a beer. He told Rantoul the cost is $ 2.50.

“It’s our problem,” Kaufman said. “We buy from Champaign-Urbana distributors, so our cost is higher. … “

Regarding gaming terminals, trustee Sherry Johnson suggested increasing the terminal fee by $ 25 instead of $ 50.

Rantoul Police Lt. Justin Bouse said the state of Illinois has started using police officers to conduct alcohol inspections. An inspection has been carried out in each of the past three years.

Bouse said the village was reimbursed $ 75 by the state. He said police would usually call the company ahead of time to arrange for the inspection. The state stopped using local agents this year, he said.

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