A $10,000 license fee for medical marijuana dispensaries in town and a $5,000 license fee for cultivation, testing or manufacturing facilities will go into effect in 2022.
The Aberdeen City Council gave final approval to those and other fees for 2022 at Monday's meeting, adopting an amendment that reduced the proposed fee for dispensaries from $15,000 to $10,000.
The lower fee was proposed by Councilman Clint Rux, who noted the $5,000 fee approved by Brown County as one reason for a reduction. In comparison to the county's fee, a $15,000 dispensary license seemed exorbitant, he said.
While the fees are refundable if the licensing process is unsuccessful, a $500 application fee, which is also required, is not.
The annual renewal fee for all four licenses is $5,000.
The council unanimously approved the city ordinance setting the fee schedule 7-0. While attending via Zoom, Councilman Dave Lunzman did not vote, and Councilman Rob Ronayne was absent. The new fees go into effect following a 20-day waiting period after the fee schedule is published.
The schedule includes a variety of fee changes, including adjustments to ambulance training fees, the addition of a $100 lift assist fee and a variety of equipment rental fees for snow removal.
Overnight parking tickets will jump from $5 to $10 with the second ticket at $20. The wastewater and water use fees also have a 15-cent increase.
Salaries and wages
The council also adopted the first reading of the city ordinance setting salaries and wages for 2022.
The new wage schedule includes a 2.5% cost-of-living raise and a 2.5% step increase for qualifying employees. The schedule also proposes a 5% salary increase for members of the city council.
This is the first increase approved for city council pay since voters approved new language in the city's charter that allowed for the pay adjustment. Members of the council now make $8,500 a year with that total to move to $8,925.
New Tax Increment Financing district vote delayed
A decision on a request for a new Tax Increment Financing District was postponed until the Dec. 6 council meeting.
TIF districts are often created to help cover some of the up-front expenses for public infrastructure. The funds received are paid back through the property taxes collected on the improvements within the district. Once those expenses are paid off, the higher property taxes collected go to local governments.
This proposed TIF district seeks $1.55 million, which would be paid back over a 20-year period. The Dakota Estates development includes two multi-family structures, one with 100 apartments specifically for those 55 and older. The other would have 72 apartments. The area also includes land for potential future residential development.
The district is at 915 and 916 Villa Drive and 1022 27th Ave. N.E. The development plan was submitted by Purple Cow Properties, Forte of Aberdeen and Dakota Estates III.
City Manager Joe Gaa said of the $1.55 million financing request, $833,000 is to extend North Harrison Street and about $722,000 is for parking lot development.
Rux said he supports the development of Harrison Street, but not the inclusion of financing for the parking lot.
Pete Stencil of Stencil Group spoke on behalf of the project and said funding will get tight without financing for the parking lot.
"We just won't be able to do it," Stencil said.
Many on the council, including Rux, agreed the additional apartment space in Aberdeen is needed. The delay in action was requested to allow for additional input from the full council.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Aberdeen city council adopts $10,000 medical marijuana license