Arlington Heights Village President Arlene Mulder sent the following letter Wednesday to members of the Illinois General Assembly.
This correspondence serves to update members of the General Assembly regarding the position of a majority of Arlington Heights Village Board members -- including myself -- regarding the possibility of slot machines at Arlington Park.
In my role as Mayor, I was recently asked to provide a 250-word statement to the Editorial Board of the Daily Herald on the subject of slots at Arlington Park. I shared my statement with the Village Board members at our May 16 meeting. A detailed discussion ensued wherein it became clear that a majority of the Board supported my statement and supported the possibility of slots at Arlington Park. The basis for this support stems from the desire to keep Arlington Park economically viable and also acknowledges the spinoff benefits of horse racing in other sectors of the Illinois economy such as agriculture. Because the issue was not on our meeting agenda, no formal vote was able to be taken on the issue. Instead, the Board suggested that this communication be sent to all members of the General Assembly.
As you may know, Arlington Heights has historically opposed pre-emption of its Home Rule authority on a variety of subjects including the expansion of gambling at Illinois racetracks. While proposed legislation for the installation of slots in horse racing facilities pre-empts home rule, it was apparent that a number of legislators were interested in our Board's opinion on the issue. We recognize and respect the role of the legislature on Statewide issues such as gambling. We now encourage the legislature to take steps to assist the horse racing industry and Arlington Park in particular, in their efforts to remain viable in Illinois during these challenging economic times.
For your further information, the Daily Herald ran a front-page story regarding the Village Board's informal position in its edition of Tuesday, May 17. If you are interested, the comments of Board members on this subject can be accessed by visiting the Village's website at www.vah.com. In the right column of the homepage select the icon titled "Board Meetings" and choose the meeting dated May 16, 2011. Please fast-forward the video to one hour and 32 minutes when the discussion begins.
We appreciate your consideration of the Village's position on this matter which is of both local and Statewide importance. If you have any questions, please contact me or Village Manager Bill Dixon at 847-368-5100.
Arlene J. Mulder, Mayor