Video poker will continue to be banned in the county's unincorporated areas, following a vote by the Crawford County Board Thursday.
Board members voted 6-2 to re-affirm a 2009 resolution banning video poker machines. The vote was in response to a November request by George Murphy, who had considered offering gaming at his Gordon Junction convenience store.
Robinson, Palestine and Oblong permit video poker. If Murphy had been allowed to install the machines, the county would have garnered 5 percent of the revenues. Murphy and an Effingham company that provided the machines would have each received 35 percent, while the state would have kept 25 percent.
It was not an easy decision; board members were torn between helping a local business and the potential pitfalls of video poker.
"It's nothing against you personally," board member David Fulling explained. "We want our businesses to grow."
Murphy understood, saying he was not completely sure gaming was the best thing for his business, either.
Don Lachenmayr, speaking for himself and absent board member Allen Price, said everyone to whom they had spoken supported the plan. He and Shirley Treadway cast the votes to overturn the 2009 resolution.
Board Chairman Gerald Bilyew said only 20 people responded to his call for public input on the issue. Of those, 16 were opposed, three had no opinion and one was in favor. He, Fulling, Don Richart, Terry McCoy, Steve Rich and Robin Guyer voted "no." Toni Earleywine also was absent.
Also Thursday, the board members and other county officials discussed fallout from recent winter storms. The fact that the meeting was Thursday, rather than two weeks earlier, was itself the fault of a combination of the "polar vortex" and a state law mandating the county give 10 days notice for a rescheduled meeting.
Ken Pryor of the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency told the board only one person required the use of a warming center set up in Robinson, but six adults and 10 children used one at the Prarie-Licking Fire Department. Meanwhile, runoff from melting snow leaked through the roof of the county annex building, narrowly missing computer routers.
County Engineer Justin Childress said the highway department has put out weight limit signs on county road, but no limits are in effect. If cold weather persists, roads will likely remain open to all traffic at least through the end of next week, Childress said. Local residents can check the department's Facebook page for updates.
Childress also presented the board with an engineering agreement with Connor and Connor for work on a Martin Township bridge and the annual state-conducted audit into the county's motor fuel tax use. Both were approved by the board.
The board also re-appointed Art Baker, Gary Null and Steve McGahey to three-year terms on the Crawford County Development Association Board, and affirmed this year's slate of CCDA officers - President Rick Catt, Vice President Jerry Tye and Secretary/Treasurer McGahey.
In other business, the board:
Learned that the county's equalized assessed valuation changed 1.007 percent in 2012 and that the average tax rate in the county last year was 8.2432.
Was told the county board of review is in session. Persons appealing their tax assessments have until Feb. 14 to file.
Agreed to keep confidential the minutes of the only closed session it has conducted in the past two years.
Voted to continue support of the Greater Wabash Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Agree to pay the mileage rate approved by the federal Internal Revenue Service.