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Where the Rails Cross the River



February 23, 2021

There was a healthy debate at our last Council meeting that dealt with gambling establishments. It has been the goal of the City, and the current establishments that offer video gaming, that we try to restrict what I would call “gaming parlors” – places where gaming is the primary purpose, sometimes the only purpose, of an establishment. Currently, the rule is that no more than 40% of an establishment’s revenue can come from video games. The restaurants that sell food and drink, along with gaming, but not that reliant on gaming, can meet this requirement. The problem is that “bars” that don’t serve food have a problem meeting this requirement.

The Council ended up directing the City Attorney to re-draft our ordinance so that no more the 60% of an establishment’s revenue can come from gaming. Even with this relaxation, we don’t think it will allow “gaming parlors”. If approved, all establishments will comply according to their current revue figures. That’s the good news. The bad news is that some places might now put less emphasis on selling food and/or retail – it “lowers the bar”. More to come at our debate at the next Council meeting when we review the revised draft of the ordinance.

We are now releasing the first round of Chillicothe Business Grant (CBG) checks to 28 small local businesses that applied for the grant. We are now working on a next round of grants.

The main effort at City Hall this time of year is the drafting of our next fiscal year’s budget. Besides non-discretionary items like salaries, we are budgeting for enhancement projects. Any ideas?? And an important task this year is to budget any projects and/or incentives that TIF dollars could finance before the Downtown TIF expires in less than two years. When it expires, we will lose in important financing tool and our progress will need to slow down. We need to spend this money wisely….

Things are starting to look more optimistic. The frigid weather seems to have given up its grip on our area and it’s starting to feel more like normal temperatures and we seem to be heading into Spring. And it seems like the COVID virus is also letting up on its grip on us, the State and the country overall. So, let’s stay the course on the safety precautions. I’ve now had both of my COVID vaccinations without too many complications; mostly a little lack of appetite with isn’t all bad considering the weight I put on over the COVID shut downs. Please consider a vaccination if you haven’t already had one.

With Spring around the corner, we will start cleaning up our yards of limbs and debris. It’s a way off but the Moffitt landscape drop-off area will be opening in mid-March.

As mentioned in my last article, local elections are less than two months away – April 6. You will start seeing campaign signs popping up in yards and storefronts. I urge you to reach out and get to know the local candidates.

That’s all for this time. See you around town!



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