A host of fees for 2022, including a $15,000 license fee for medical marijuana dispensaries, were preliminarily approved during Monday's Aberdeen City Council meeting.
The fee for other medical marijuana establishments for cultivation, testing and manufacturing was set at $5,000.
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 city council approved the first reading of the ordinance setting fees for 2022. A second reading is required, followed by publication and a 20-day waiting period before fees are finalized.
The council briefly discussed the proposed fees, but made no changes to the recommendation presented Monday. Mayor Travis Schaunaman noted the $15,000 fee was set based on an average of city council recommendations.
Councilman Clint Rux asked why there was a lower license fee for manufacturing, cultivation and testing facilities.
City Manager Joe Gaa said the city stayed with the state minimum of $5,000 for those three facilities knowing most of the questions will come for the dispensary licenses.
Councilwoman Tiffany Langer expressed concern about setting a $15,000 fee for a medical license.
But Gaa said the license isn't just for medical providers. Anyone who meets the requirements can apply for the business license, he said.
Rux also noted concerns with the $15,000 fee. But no amendments were made to lower it, and the recommended totals passed unanimously. Councilman Dave Lunzman was not in attendance.
Some questions were raised about what will happen if recreational marijuana is legalized. Gaa said it's possible the license will convert to a recreational marijuana license, but that depends on how the regulations roll out.
"We don't have a yes or no on that at this point," he said.
Ordinance governing medical cannabis establishments already approved
The fees are the last component needed with respect to the city's medical cannabis regulations. The city council previously adopted its ordinance concerning medical marijuana establishments, limiting the number of dispensaries to one per 5,000 in population. That means there could be six in town.
Dispensaries are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a public school or within 150 feet of a day care, church, park or library.
Any of the four medical cannabis establishments would be allowed on property zoned as a city industrial park or in an unrestricted industrial district. Dispensaries would also be allowed in a highway commercial district and the downtown commercial district.
Other fee changes approved
The 2022 fee schedule included a variety of fee changes, including adjustments to ambulance training fees, the proposed addition of a $100 lift assist fee and a variety of equipment rental fees for snow removal.
Parking tickets will jump from $5 to $10 with the second ticket at $20. These tickets primarily issued in the downtown area. Police Chief Dave McNeil said the police department has upgraded to a new ticketing system, so the higher fines reflect the cost of operating that system.
The wastewater use fee also increased from $3.35 per 1,000 gallons to $3.50 per 1,000 gallons, and a 15-cent increase was applied to water use fees. City Finance Officer Karl Alberts said it's part of the city's effort to gradually increase fees so they are at state-recommended levels for revolving loan fund requests.
Permit fees for variances, special exceptions and appeals also increased. All were previously $75. Variances will go up to $100, with special exception and appeal permits increasing to $200.
In other action, the council:
Approved a $238,000 engineering services contract with Helms and Associates to design an east side water transmission line and water tower. Public Works Director Robin Bobzien said Helms was one of three firms to provide a proposal for engineering services, which will take about a year to complete. Bobzien said contractor bids for the $4 million to $5 million project are expected to be let toward the end of 2022.
During his manager's report, Gaa said the city's redistricting commission will meet at city hall Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Aberdeen City Council sets fees for medical marijuana facilities