Proposed Smoking Ban Causing Controversy

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

Machesney Park trustee Mike Luke says his proposal for a clean air ordinance is just what village residents need.

"The ordinance is designed to protect the citizens, which is one of government's responsibilities," Luke says.

Many of those citizens support Luke's argument. Earlier this month 61 percent of Harlem Township residents voted in favor of banning smoking in local businesses.

"The people of Machesney Park have spoken and now it’s up to the elected officials to move forward with their desires," Luke says.

On Monday night, they will do just that. The ordinance is up for discussion during the village's public safety meeting. But not everyone is sold on the idea.

"Everybody agrees that smoking is bad for you but it’s also bad for business when you put a ban like this into place," says Machesney Park Mayor Linda Vaughn.

"It would devastate my business just as it has done all over the country," says Cliff Sterling, the owner of Legend's Bar and Grill.

"If Machesney Park lets it go through then everyone's gonna go someplace else to watch their sporting events," says Lee Gharaldson, who was watching the Bears-Patriots game at Legend's.

"At this point, I am not willing to sacrifice even one business," Vaughn says.

Village leaders will discuss possible changes to the ordinance at the meeting. Trustee Mike Luke hopes to send it to the village board for a possible vote within the next few weeks.

Tomorrow night's meeting starts at 7:30 at Machesney Park's Village Hall and is open to the public. Mayor Vaughn tells us that if the ordinance passes, Machesney Park may have to implement a new property tax.

She says the decision could cause a loss of revenue, and the village simply doesn't have any other way of recouping those lost funds. If passed, the ban could go into effect as early as July of next year.


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