Esky sets fees for weed companies | News, Sports, Jobs
ESCANABA — Interested in opening a commercial marijuana establishment in the town of Escanaba? Take out your wallet. City council decided Thursday that opening a marijuana business will cost $10,000 in first-year fees.
The fee setting was not originally part of Thursday’s agenda, but was added after City Manager Patrick Jordan added the passing of a resolution to set the date the city would begin accepting fees. business applications.
Jordan’s proposed resolution would have delayed the companies’ application until Oct. 10, a date most council members felt was too late. Instead, the board decided to pass an amended resolution allowing nominations to be submitted on Oct. 3 and expedited a second resolution setting fees that were not to be discussed until next month.
Much of Jordan’s reason for wanting the applications delayed until Oct. 10 had to do with what he perceived to be public distaste for commercial marijuana sales.
“The waiting period gives us time to train and organize ourselves administratively here, but also gives the public a chance to have a referendum on the ordinance if they wish,” said Jordan, who later added that those opposing marijuana establishments could, theoretically, get an injunction until the issue could be on a ballot.
However, the delay didn’t sit well with some council members, who had already extended the Sept. 15 sunset clause to Sept. 30 earlier this month to allow the city’s own regulatory ordinances to pass. Those two ordinances, which opt out of the state’s commercial marijuana law and set rules on where and how commercial retail establishments can operate, also passed Thursday.
“In my opinion, we have given the public many opportunities with public hearings, first readings, second readings, public hearings at the (planning) commission as well. I just don’t see the logic if we have the sunset clause until the 30th,” said council member Tyler DuBord.
After some discussion and assurances that the city’s legal counsel for commercial marijuana issues, Laura Genovich of Foster Swift, could train relevant city staff and produce an application by October 3, council voted 4 to 1 to start authorizing applications at the earliest date. . The only dissenting vote came from council member Karen Moore, who has historically held positions that would limit marijuana sales in the city.
With the early application start date, the city needed to establish a fee schedule for applicants. Working on a draft resolution presented by Genovich, the board had two decisions to make: how much should the annual fee be and how much should the application fee be?
According to state law, the maximum amount a municipality can charge for an annual fee is $5,000, which has essentially become the standard fee statewide. However, the law does not regulate how much or how much the city can charge to file a claim.
“I say, make them both $5,000”, said Council Member Todd Flath, who was the first to put a value on the application fee.
The fees are significantly higher than in some communities in the state. Genovich noted that she is aware of a community that charges as little as $300 for a commercial marijuana request.
“What you want to do whenever you set fees, whether it’s for marijuana or whatever, is to make sure that the goal is not to generate revenue, but to offset the costs incurred by the city. “, she says.
Initially, DuBord said he felt the fee was high and should be closer to $1,000, but other board members quickly agreed with Flath.
“To me, that doesn’t seem like much considering the time the clerk’s office is going to spend on it, public safety, zoning enforcement, zoning – you’re going to have a lot of people reviewing every application; make on-site visits, said Board Member Ron Beauchamp.
“If we had just limited the number of stores, that would be a different story, but now we have unlimited stores. It will take longer,” she says.
The board voted unanimously to set the fees at $5,000 each.
In other cases counsel:
– Heard an update on the sale and development of the former Delta County Jail and Chamber sites. Negotiations related to the purchase agreements faltered somewhat due to the fact that two of the developers attempted to negotiate the terms with board members and without a lawyer. Plans to meet directly with one of the developers were discussed, but city attorney Lisa Vogler said she felt it was best for the developers to state who represents them legally moving forward. .
— Approval of a contract with McLean Engineering to assess the city’s existing pole-fastening agreements — some of which date back to the 1970s — comply with current state law. The appraisal was approved for costs up to $2,000, but Department of Electricity Superintendent Gerald Pirkola said estimates for the work came to $1,323.
–Cast a vote on an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard for use of the municipal wharf until the city attorney can review the contract.
— Approved asbestos removal from a previously condemned home at 1607 N. 20th St. The removal, which will cost $1,335, was already included in the estimated demolition costs for the structure.
–Entered a closed session to discuss a written legal opinion with Vogler regarding a lawsuit recently filed in Delta County Circuit Court. The nature of the lawsuit was not revealed in open court Thursday, but it was noted that the lawsuit was related to the city’s electrical service.