Princeton Council approves gaming license increase; additional funds to be used for fire pension

Additional revenue will be used to help fund the city’s fire pensions

In addition to cold beer and good music, gambling machines are available for patrons who want to try their luck.

Changes will be coming to Princeton gaming machine owners as, in a split decision, Princeton Council voted to increase gaming machine license fees to $250 annually.

Due to changes in state regulations, municipalities are now authorized to increase gaming terminal fees from $25 per machine to $250 per machine annually.

City Manager Theresa Wittenauer explained to the council that the increase in terminal fees, which will be used to help fund fire department pensions, will bring in $24,500 annually based on the current number of terminals at establishments in the city.

Tax revenues from gaming are used for economic development, as its current revenue is used to pay down debt that should be completed next year according to Wittenauer.

Fire pensions are funded through property taxes, so the ‘unexpected’ revenue coming from the gambling licenses will put tens of thousands annually into the pension funds.

Mayor Joel Quiram said the funds will help restore money from the pension fund that has recently been paid out for several firefighters on short term disability.

Quiram said the city currently has 19 approved gambling licenses with a maximum of 25 available in Princeton. Those businesses have a combined 97 gaming terminals.

In addition to being a source of revenue for the fire pension fund, Quiram said the increased fees will help to alleviate the need to increase taxes to get the pensions funded to the required level.

Quiram stated in 2021 over $51 million dollars were played in machines within the city; over $10 million of which was from the Road Ranger truck stop.

The motion to increase fees was supported by Jerry Neuman, Martin Makransky, Mayor Quiram and was voted down by council members Hector Gomez and Mike McCall.