Wauconda village board trustee candidates share ideas for using gambling revenue
Most of the candidates running for seats on Wauconda's village board believe income generated from video gambling should go into the town's general fund rather than a special account.
A few suggested using the money on police-related programs or to fight drug abuse.
One had no comment when asked about the issue.
Six candidates are running for three trustee seats with 4-year terms. They are: incumbents Ken Arnswald, Chuck Black and Linda Starkey; and challengers Jason Anderson, Dwight Thomas and Bob Cook.
Two additional candidates -- incumbent Joseph Coster and challenger Tim Howe -- are running for one seat with a 2-year term.
The Daily Herald has asked all eight candidates about gambling revenue and other local issues.
Trustees voted in 2012 to allow video gambling in Wauconda, three years after state lawmakers approved the activity for restaurants, bars, veterans organizations and other locales.
Municipalities get a small percentage of the revenue generated by the machines.
Anderson supports keeping the cash in the general fund.
So did Arnswald, who said the amount of money generated by gambling is too unreliable to count on.
Cook believes the money should stay in the general fund, too. Still, he said he'd like to see some of the money go toward creating a test program that combats heroin abuse.
"I'd love to see something done in that direction," Cook said.
Black said he'd like to see the money in a separate fund someday. Just not yet.
"I don't think we're ready," Black said.
Like some of the other candidates, Black liked the idea of using the money to combat drug abuse or on other health issues.
Coster said he prefers the village revenue be put into a general fund so it can be used for a variety of purchases as much as possible.
"I think too often we segregate funding mechanisms into buckets, and then we handcuff ourselves when it comes time to make decisions," Coster said.
Howe supports keeping the money in the general fund right now because it's a fairly new revenue stream. But once it's clearer how much money gambling could bring to the village coffers each year, he thinks earmarking it for specific projects could be a "useful tool."
Using the money to battle addiction could be "a fine place to put it," Howe said.
Starkey would like to see the town's gambling proceeds go to "a positive program" in the village, perhaps a police crime prevention effort or a neighborhood watch program.
"Maybe heroin information for the public," she said.
Thomas said he'd "need more information about video gambling" before he could comment on what to do with that revenue.
Anderson, Cook, Coster and Thomas are running as the For Wauconda slate in the April 7 election.
Arnswald, Black, Starkey and Howe are running as the United For Progress team.