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PAXTON — The Paxton City Council had its first look at proposed changes to its raffle ordinance Monday night.
The matter surfaced when the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Athletic Booster Club had to pay $1,300 up front to run its Pick 3 Raffle during April, in which a winner will be drawn every day. The club had to purchase a raffle license from the city because it already has begun to sell tickets. And because of the way the ordinance is written now, the club needed a separate license for each day of the drawing.
Among the changes to the ordinance the council will vote on next month is that a license will be good for 30 days of drawing prizes. So the next time the club wants to run a similar raffle, its license will cost only $50. Other changes include not requiring a bond and no need to know the names of all the sellers.
City Attorney Bob Martensen said it is important to remember that running a raffle is illegal. So the city’s ordinance closely follows state law. The city developed a raffle ordinance five years ago when a Roberts resident opened a “raffle house” in Paxton.
Street sweeper debate
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council voted 6-1 to repair the street sweeper the city owns rather than borrowing money and spending $173,000 for a new one.
Street department Superintendent Randy Swan lobbied hard for the new sweeper, saying there is only one 2012 Elgin sweeper still available at a St. Louis dealership and that 2013 models will cost $179,000 and models later than that even more.
But the council decided it will make $10,000 in repairs now and try to get more use out of the current sweeper while setting aside money over the next several years.
Both Mayor Bill Ingold and Comptroller Julie Burgess endorsed that approach. Burgess said it would be easier to budget that money to save rather than having to come up with $36,000 annually for five years to pay off a bank note.
Ingold is concerned about the city’s debt burden with the backhoe not getting paid off until next year and the bond financing the water meters until 2015.
Also Monday, the council voted to spend up to $16,250 on a 2013 Ford three-quarter-ton pickup truck from Bob Ridings Fleet Sales, Taylorville. The city will use $4,200 gained from the sale of scrap metal for the old water meters toward the sale. Not happy with the trade-in offered by the dealer for the old pickup truck, the city will attempt to sell the truck by listing it on Craigslist or other ways.
Also Monday, the council:
— Learned that police officer Doug Balk has resigned to take a job with Amrak and that former Paxton police Sgt. Robert Yates, currently Rankin’s police chief, has been hired to take Balk’s place.
— Scheduled a committee meeting of the streets and alleys committee, followed by a meeting of the finance committee, for Feb. 18 beginning at 7 p.m.
— Approved an agreement with the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district outlining how proceeds of the city’s newly implemented tax increment financing (TIF) district will be distributed to the school district.
— Extended cable television franchise agreements with Mediacom and Conxxus through April 30.
— Approved a resolution to support efforts to have the Mahomet Aquifer declared a “sole-source aquifer.”