Marijuana and taxes on council agenda Tuesday
Craig City Council had a full agenda Tuesday night, Nov. 12 after voters passed all three of the city’s marijuana initiatives last week.
After approving a special events permit for the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado’s Dec. 7 event and two liquor license renewals for Ocean Pearl and Fiesta Jalisco, council will introduce several ordinances related to taxes and marijuana.
First up is Ordinance No. 1102 to fix the city’s property tax levy for 2020. Marijuana will be after that as council moves to introduce Ordinance No. 1103 which would repeal chapter 5.6 of Craig’s municipal code (Marijuana, Operation of Commercial Marijuana Establishments Prohibited) and replace it with chapter 5.7 entitled ‘Marijuana, Operation of Retail Establishments.’
The city has been working on their marijuana ordinance for months in anticipation of voters going to the polls last week. The ordinance would include a 4% variable tax on recreational sales inside city limits that would go to the Craig branch of the library and the Museum of Northwest Colorado for five years, though many on council believe the tax should begin at zero to remain competitive with other cities.
The ordinance would also allow council the discretion to revoke an establishment’s recreational dispensary license if that dispensary commits a single identification infraction, like those found during enforcement sting operations conducted across the state by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED).
At the past few council meetings, Shaun Hadley of the Craig Apothecary requested he be allowed to secure one of three recreational marijuana dispensaries allowed under the city’s new ordinance, so council might be making a decision on that request soon.
Once their marijuana business is completed Tuesday, council will introduce Ordinance No. 1104 which would “exclude collection of sales tax for leased vehicles, motor vehicles, and off-highway vehicles.”
Lastly, council will introduce Ordinance No. 1105 to increase water and wastewater rates for residents in Craig. According to the council agenda, the city is raising “water and wastewater rates to provide sufficient revenues to maintain the balance of water and wastewater enterprise funds.”
The rate increase is part of the city’s multi-million-dollar plan to switch to monochloramine — a longer acting form of chlorine that helps kill harmful organisms in drinking water. The Craig Press previously reported the project is expected to cost $5.2 million. Council last raised rates by a unanimous vote Dec. 11.
According to a letter City Manager Peter Brixius sent to customers, the in-town residential rate of $2.90 per 1,000 gallons of water increased to $2.96 per 1,000 gallons of water in 2019, while the base rate for water of $28.50 per month moved to $29.10. Brixius said by 2023, the anticipated rate increase for 1,000 gallons of water will stop at $3.20, and the base rate will stop at $31.50. After 2023, Brixius said, the city should be able to sustain these rates for several years.