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Wilmington mulls new code enforcement officer for gaming parlors

READ MORE: Wilmington mulls new code enforcement officer for gaming parlors
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Talk of creating a new city job has sparked debate among Wilmington City Council members. The new code enforcement officer would help keep an eye on internet sweepstakes cafés.

Some City Council members say the state is not doing its job regulating internet sweepstakes cafés. Some council members say if the state won't regulate then local officials will have to step up. Others say it's too soon to create this job.

City Council discussed the new position for the city last night. City Council member Ronald Sparks said the job would have a salary of about $55,000. Money collected from the sweepstakes cafés' mandatory permits the city just adopted would pay for the code enforcement officer. The officer would be responsible for checking permits, machines, and hours of the cafés.

"We're looking at funding that position out of that $1.5 million (from the permits), so that's an insignificant amount," Sparks said. "So it would not have any budgetary impact to the city budget."

Charlie Rivenbark and Kristi Tomey do not support the new job.

"I think we haven't proven that we need some additional enforcement just for that particular industry," Tomey said. "We don't regulate other industries like that, even though the position is going to be paid for by the permits. We need to prove that we have a problem and do a hiring, instead of just anticipating a hiring."

According to Sparks, the enforcement officer would strictly enforce regulations. It would not act as a security officer for the cafés. Sparks says that's the Wilmington Police Department's responsibility.

According to a WPD spokesperson, after much research they did not find any significant crime problems from the cafés.

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