Billtown’s final gaming license goes to Ladd’s

For The Weekly Post

WILLIAMSFIELD – Ladd’s Food Mart is to receive the final video-gambling license the current Williamsfield Village Board intends to issue.

The board decided March 6 to cap at three the number of video-gambling permit holders in town, according to Village President Matt Tonkin.

Only one Billtown business offers video gambling – Double Take Bar & Grill, 111 N. Oak St. Another license has been granted for a combination gambling parlor-laundromat being constructed across the street from Double Take, according to Tonkin.

“I’m not a fan of gambling,” he said. “It’s just a shame that’s where people choose to spend their money, and it’s a shame that businesses seem to need it. But I understand their position. I would rather we don’t have gambling, but I would like us to have a grocery store.”

Ladd’s new owners, represented by Harsh Puri, requested video-gambling permission last month. In January, they purchased the business from longtime owner Jerry Ladd. Puri and proprietor Pardeep Kumar are part of a family that also owns food stores in Bushnell and Mason City.

Once video gambling begins at Ladd’s, likely in the next few months, up to six terminals are to be accessed through a separate entrance, according to Tonkin. Alcohol by the drink is to be sold, in keeping with state regulations.

The local American Legion post owns the Ladd’s building and land. The legion board signed off on the grocery store request, according to Tonkin. He noted significant opposition from Village Board members, despite their ultimate approval.

“The family did a great job ingratiating themselves with the trustees. They seem like a nice bunch,” Tonkin said. “The fact is, nobody else was interested in buying from Jerry Ladd because it’s a hard business to make ends meet.”

In other business, the board approved a $3 monthly increase in the base water rate. The new rate is to be about $47.25, according to Tonkin.

A primary reason for the increase is the second phase of a water-improvement project the village is to begin later this year. The rate increase also is to help offset hikes in the cost of electricity, Tonkin said.

Trustees gave final approval to the project, which is estimated at $1.75 million, including fees. Hoerr Construction Co. of Goodfield offered the lowest bid, about $1.45 million.

Water-distribution lines in the east part of the village are to be replaced, and a 30,000-gallon ground-level storage tank is to be constructed. The tank work probably won’t take place until 2024, Tonkin said. The project fulfills Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

The board also gave preliminary assent to a budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins May 1. Final approval is expected in April. General-fund spending is to rise about 12 percent, with most or all coming from village savings, per Tonkin.

The general-fund cash balance at the end of the FY 2024 is expected to be $110,839.11, according to figures Village Clerk Tori Courson provided.