Two issues were considered for the second time at Tuesday night’s:
- slot machines at bars and restaurants in unincorporated McHenry County
- electronic billboards outside of municipalities
Also called video poker machines, the electronic devices will be allowed after a 15-9 vote.
The argument that the unincorporated bars were playing on an uneven playing field seemed to carry the day over arguments that gambling can lead to addiction that can destroy lives.
In 2009 the McHenry County Board voted 13-10-1 to prohibit the devices.
At that time rules had not been promulgated and no municipality had voted to allow them.
As Ken Koehler, maker of Tuesday’s motion put it, “It probably made sense to send a message to the rest of the County. Now twenty [cities and villages] have [approved video gaming."
Names of the fifteen who voted in favor follow:
- Michele Aavang
- Nick Chirokos
- Sue Drafkorn
- Joe Gottemoller
- Jim Heisler
- Tina Hill
- John Jung
- Ken Koehler
- Bob Martens
- Mary McCann
- Mary McClellan
- Anna May Miller
- Robert Nowak
- Sandy Salgado
- Mike Skala
Those voting “No” were
- Yvonne Barnes
- Diane Evertsen
- John Hammerand
- Donna Kurtz
- Nick Provenzano
- Carolyn Schofield
- Ersel Schuster
- Mike Walkup
- Paula Yensen
The second issue was prompted by villages not wanting electronic billboard near their municipalities.
A moratorium enacted at their request was about to expire and, according to one village’s representative, “the word on the street” was that lobbying to let the moratorium run out was heavy.
Appearing were those wishing to keep the ban on electronic billboards in unincorporated areas.
Algonquin Village President John Schmitt. He pointed out that the issue was so important to him that he was missing only is fifth meeting in twenty years of having served on his Board.
Catherine Peterson, Lakewood’s Village Manager, also weighed in asking for a continuance of the billboards’ prohibition through the summer months until the new zoning ordinance could be approved.
Also present was Lake in the Hills’ Community Development Director Dan Olson.
Despite the apprehension of village officials, the County Board approved the requested extension by voice vote. I heard no dissension.