Businesses violate Warner Robins gaming machine rules

jmink@macon.comApril 1, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- More than 40 businesses have violated the city’s gaming machine laws, and City Council took a step Monday toward holding them accountable.

Most businesses are not turning in monthly financial reports, City Attorney Jim Elliott said after the council meeting, a requirement included in the city’s updated gaming machine regulations. The newest rules, which were approved in October, require businesses to install security cameras, have no more than nine gaming machines with signs that inform customers prizes of more than $5 are illegal, and report monthly earnings to the city. Earnings from the machines cannot be more than half of the business’s income.

Council appointed two hearing officers for the violations. Once the businesses receive notification of the violations, Elliott said he expects most will comply with the regulations.

Revitalizing neighborhoods

There are neighborhoods in Warner Robins that some city leaders say need help, and Councilman Daron Lee has a plan to offer that assistance.

Lee is hoping to bring those neighborhoods back to life with the help of a federal grant. He is pushing for the city to apply for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant, which would give the city $500,000 for revitalization.

Lee discussed the grant Monday during a work session before the council meeting.

“This is something I feel strongly is possible for this city,” Lee said.

During his presentation, Lee focused on the Tabor Drive area, which he says is plagued with problems, such as vacant and abandoned housing.

The grant is designed to support a revitalization plan for those neighborhoods. Ideally, that plan would include investing in new, mixed-income housing, youth services, safety measures, commercial opportunities and other amenities. The city, which would partner with the housing authority and other organizations, would use the grant money to implement that plan.

The deadline to apply is May 28, and Lee hopes the proposal comes up for a vote during the next council meeting, he said.

“If you all go over by Tabor Drive, it’s critical,” Lee said. “We want all communities to feel that they are embraced.”

Also at the meeting, council:

• Approved a resolution to contribute $49,618 to the 21st Century Partnership, an organization that works to support Robins Air Force Base;

• Approved purchasing bids, which included 11 new police vehicles: about $167,185 for six Dodge Enforcers and $152,690 for five Ford Interceptors; and

• Approved a contract to extend Karl Drive south to Cohen Walker Drive at no cost to the city.

Minutes before the meeting, council struck from the agenda an ordinance that would add a code of ethics to the city code. After the meeting, Mayor Chuck Shaheen said he was not sure why council struck the ordinance from the agenda.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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