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Show us where to spend the money, Carpentersville says to residents

Tracy’s Bistro 302 W. MaSt. Carpentersville is one four new video gambling cafes thwill open village this year. | ErSauder

Tracy’s Bistro, 302 W. Main St., Carpentersville, is one of four new video gambling cafes that will open in the village this year. | Erin Sauder for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 25, 2014 6:13AM

CARPENTERSVILLE — The village is asking for residents’ help in determining where some of the money in Carpentersville’s coffers should go.

With five video gambling sites open already and four more slated to come on deck this year, the village board has opted to dedicate the village’s share of gaming revenue to a special fund aimed at civic improvement.

Village President Ed Ritter said because funds generated from the machines can fluctuate, “we didn’t want to say they’d be a part of our regular budget and then all of a sudden the novelty (of video gambling) is gone and the funds are gone and we’ve spent them.”

Instead, village officials decided to take an approach that Ritter said is unique.

“I don’t know of any other town where they say to the residents, ‘Tell us how to spend this money,’ ” he said.

Carpentersville Finance Director Cathy Haley projects revenues coming in from video gambling for the fiscal year ending April 30 to be $32,000.

Ritter hopes residents will take advantage of the opportunity to help improve civic and social life within the village.

“We need people in our community to say here’s what we’d like to see to make Carpentersville a better place,” he said.

And he wants residents to think outside the box as to what those ideas should be.

“I’m trying not to give too many examples of what the money should be used for because I want people to be creative,” Ritter said. “This could be anywhere from landscaping to park benches to ... I don’t know. We’re just waiting to see.”

He said Carpentersville is a nice place.

“And we have to find ways to make it even nicer and get more people involved in the village,” he said. “Really, this is just an experiment. The money will build up; and if we see people aren’t coming up with ideas, we’ll put it in a special fund and use it for something.”

Any resident can submit ideas to Assistant Manager Joe Wade at 224-293-1640 or by email at

Wade will gather the ideas and give them to a committee of residents who will evaluate them and submit a list of recommendations to the village board.

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