Craig City Council shortens library, museum stimulus from first few years of marijuana businesses under proposed ordinance |

Craig City Council shortens library, museum stimulus from first few years of marijuana businesses under proposed ordinance

At its regular Tuesday meeting, Craig City Council determined it will lower the length of time any possible extra marijuana tax dollars would go toward funding Museum of Northwest Colorado and the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.

Following the election of several new councilors in April, the city’s new officials began writing Craig’s new marijuana ordinance for voters this fall.

At their July 9 workshop, councilors suggested they impose a 5% sales tax and 5% excise tax on marijuana in Craig they plan to use for museum and library funding for a period of five years, after which any new city council can appropriate the additional tax dollars at their discretion.

The sales and excise taxes are in addition to existing local and state taxes on marijuana sales in Colorado.

Keisha Bickford and Alman Nicodemus of the Moffat County Libraries’ board, as well as Paul Knowles at Museum of Northwest Colorado, presented the city’s joint services committee last week with information related to their future budget needs.

According to a City of Craig news release, the library’s presentation “indicated that reserves would be depleted around the middle of 2020 without capital support from both the city and the county,” while the museum’s presentation indicated money would run out some time in the first half of 2020.

“The Joint Services Workgroup assured museum and library representatives that both the city and the county would be reviewing funding during soon to be discussed budget priorities for 2020,” the city’s release said. “The Workgroup will continue to fully collaborate in earnest in order to keep the doors open for both institutions.”

But on Tuesday night at their regular council meeting, councilors continued to amend their proposed ordinance to give the library and museum less money over time, as the deadline to finish writing the ordinance for the November ballot nears.

City Attorney Sherman Romney said he has written most of the city’s new marijuana ordinances at the direction of council and has written them in a way to give the current and future councils some breathing room.

Romney said if the current council is too specific about setbacks from existing businesses and other important details put before voters on the November ballot, future councils may be hampered in their efforts to change the marijuana ordinance later.

“We want to allow future councils to change the ordinance to adapt in the future if they need to,” Romney said. “…If the voters approve this, then we need to do this and we’d be bound by that.”

Paul James was the first to suggest council reconsider the five-year commitment and instead institute a three-year commitment for Craig’s library and museum. Fellow councilors Tony Bohrer, Brian MacKenzie and Mayor Jarrod Ogden disagreed.

“I think it’s a little funny we want to get them a shot in the arm, but then we’re going to cut them two years,” Bohrer said Tuesday night before the vote culminated in a 4-3 split with councilors Andrea Camp, Chris Nichols, and Steve Mazzuca joining James to bring the proposed library and museum funding down to three years.

One of the last items of council business Tuesday was to vote on whether the city’s new election should fall on November odd years or even years during presidential elections — a motion that passed with councilors Nichols and James dissenting.

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