Diane Moca: Welcome to Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca, and these are the headlines in our city this week. Owners of restaurants, convenience stores and private clubs in Aurora are feeling squeezed by a new city ordinance that increases the fees on video poker machines. If the proposed change is approved, the city would collect an extra $50 per machine per month from establishment owners. The president of the Luxies told city council, that would cripple the nonprofit private club.
Joe Lusk: The increase of the license and the additional machines tax is going to be approximately, our share, about $5,000. That's going to be a big burden for us, because we don't have a big high profit. Luxies donate to the boys basketball, Marie Wilkinson, police department and other organizations.
Diane Moca: The owner of Aurora Tap House said businesses are still trying to recover from the pandemic and staffing shortages. City employees said they proposed the fee increase based on requirements in an updated state statute. Luxies said the operator that owns their poker machines is willing to pay most or all of the higher fees, but can't because of the language in the Aurora ordinance. So Alderman Emmanuel Llamas proposed putting the item on hold for two weeks to do more research, which got a mixed response from council.
Alderman Carl Franco: If we're going to cut these businesses slack for gambling, and it's money that our taxpayers are getting to fund other things, then I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for that.
Alderman Edward Bugg: Historically, our fees were out of line. We were not charging our different businesses in that "the going rate". They were getting a deal in Aurora. And so these proposals were just to bring us in line with our neighboring municipalities.
Alderman Sherman Jenkins: Don't forget the economic environment we're in. I mean, we can all sit and say, "Well, hey, these guys are making a lot of money." But when you compare the money you're making plus with all of your expenses, which someone in this room tell me your expenses have gone down. No.
Diane Moca: Joe, you're one private nonprofit club. How many other people business owners is this going to affect? If it passes?
Joe Lusk: I don't know how many more. I'm not able to tell you how many-
Diane Moca: Is it just a few or is it dozens?
Joe Lusk: ... No, it's more than dozens. Wherever the machines are, every 7/11, every bar at Aurora, every Aurora tap house, wherever the machines are, [inaudible 00:02:38], that's who it's going to affect.
Diane Moca: Luxies president was happy city council agreed to delay a decision while they find out how much profit the machines make. And if Aurora could wait a year to implement the increase and allow machine operators to pay all the fees.
The Compassion Foundation's 33rd annual golf fundraiser is changing its name in honor of founder Timothy Brennan who died on his 56 wedding anniversary in March. Timothy's friends and widow, Hilary, joined city officials to commemorate his contribution. 130 golfers have registered for this year's Tim Brennan, Memorial golf outing, a big jump over the 80 who competed last year. From Talking Cities Aurora, I'm Diane Moca, and those are the weeks trending topics.
Aurora Private Club and Bar Owners Say Proposed Fee Increase Is Big Burden at a Bad Time
Aurora restaurants & private clubs fight a city proposal to increase fees on video poker machines. City officials say an updated state statute prompted the fee hike, but bar owners say the city should delay implementation and change the ordinance’s wording so machine operators can cover all the fees. The Compassion Foundation honors one of its own.
Aurora Video Poker – New Fees
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