This spring Forest Park voters will have a chance to say whether they want to allow video gambling in town. Tuesday morning in a brief special meeting the village council voted 4-0 to put the question on the ballot in an advisory referendum at the April 9 election. Commissioner Rory Hoskins was not at the meeting.

The referendum will ask whether voters want to continue to prohibit video gambling in Forest Park. The results of the vote will have no legal effect, but will give village commissioners an idea of what the community thinks about the issue.

Mayor Anthony Calderone said that he will not disclose his views on the issue before the referendum.

“I don’t think that I as the mayor will be making a recommendation one way or the other,” Calderone said. “It wouldn’t be fair to the residents.”

Calderone declined to say why the motion before the village council was for an advisory referendum rather than for a binding referendum.

“That’s the suggestion that was placed before the elected body for consideration and that’s what they adopted,” Calderone said.

Calderone said that he made the suggestion to have an advisory referendum.

“I didn’t say whether or not I favored one or the other,” Calderone said. “I laid before the village council a resolution for an advisory referendum.”

Calderone said that the village council, which has the ultimate authority to determine whether to allow video gaming in town, will hold its vote within a few months of the advisory referendum.

Commissioner Mark Hosty made the motion to have an advisory referendum.

“I’m in favor of it because it puts it before the people,” Hosty said. “There’s been a lot of disinformation. A couple meetings attended by a few dozen people who have strong opinions, but I don’t think that necessarily reflects what may or may not be the opinion of the community. I think this gives an opportunity to get a clear straw poll of what the people are thinking.”

Hosty, who manages Healy’s Westside tavern which has an active application with the Illinois Gaming Board to install video gambling terminals, declined to say whether he had a position on allowing video gambling.

“My position is that I sit up here as a commissioner and I await to hear what the people have to say,” Hosty said.

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