BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Restaurants and bars in Belleville could soon be paying much steeper fees for liquor and video gaming licenses. It’s something city council is proposing and is expected to be voted on Monday.
Barry Gregory, the owner of Crehan’s Irish Pub said, “It’s something that’s not budgeted and it’s something that’s not fair.”
Gregory said the city’s proposal to raise fees could mean an extra $1,000 a year out of his pocket. To make up the difference, he said he would have to raise prices for alcohol and food.
Belleville City Council wants to raise 10 different liquor and video gaming licenses and fees. The biggest would increase liquor licenses by $150 a year. Liquor license application fees would jump from $250 to $500. Video gaming terminal operators licenses would go from $0 to $500 a year. Video gaming sticker fees from $100 to $300 per machine.
“It’s not cheap to run a city,” said Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert.
Mayor Eckert said the proposal would add $180,000 to the city’s budget $28 million a year general fun. It would help pay for a 3-percent raise for police officers and firefighters.
“Because of the loss in state revenue to us, we don’t want to see us slide dramatically in police and fire services and they wouldn’t want to see that either. And it costs money,” said Mayor Eckert.
The city blames statewide cuts and Illinois’ population decline for the loss of money.
But Gregory said those are factors that have also hurt his business and these higher fees would further hurt business.
A final vote is expected during Belleville's city council meeting on Monday at 7 p.m.