LEE – A school resources official highlights the seven public safety measures that the city’s only recreational marijuana store will fund with money raised by the city.
The $ 302,162 spent comes from the $ 484,022 of community impact fees assessed at Canna Provisions during its first 12 months of operation which began on July 5, 2019.
The list of projects includes a half-year payment ($ 62,686) for the resource manager; a feasibility study on public security; improved lighting on Housatonic Street; a digital information panel in the city center; a social worker in addition to the person in charge of school resources; remove snow from sidewalks in the Canna Provisions area; and six solar pedestrian crossing push-button lights on Main Street.
“We have really tried to focus on public safety because we bring people into town,” said Erik Williams, Canna COO.
The selection committee worked with Canna officials to develop the list of projects, rather than dictating how the money would be spent.
“I would much prefer that we agree with our cannabis owners on what they think is good for the city,” Select board chair Patricia Carlino said at the bimonthly meeting of the Board of Directors on November 16.
In a phone interview with The Eagle, Williams appreciated the city’s collaboration.
“They treat us like another business in town that wants to see us grow and be successful,” he said.
The full year resource officer ($ 125,372), social worker and snow removal will be recurring costs covered by the remaining Canna impact fee and any new fees collected from other cannabis companies joining. ours. For fiscal year 2023, the costs will be adjusted in the event of an increase in these expenses.
“I think the funding of the school resources manager is a huge thing for the community, and I would be interested, like others [cannabis] businesses are connecting to find ways to educate the community to be more proactive about drug addiction, ”said Selectman Sean Regnier.
The digital sign is one example of the community impact fee enjoyed by residents and visitors. The electronic signage will face the Main Street Fire Hall and keep the community and tourists up to date on city public safety events.
“It’s going to be built to look like the one at the central fire station,” said Ryan Brown, fire chief and director of Lee’s EMS. “It will be a good tool to disseminate public publications, emergencies and public information.”
As a condition of being licensed to operate in the city, Canna agreed to pay the city 3 percent of its gross sales in the form of a community impact fee as part of its agreement with the mandated host community. It is also charged an excise tax of 3 percent.
In the first two years ending in July, Canna paid almost $ 1.5 million in sales taxes – money that was deposited into the city’s general fund. The impact fee money is in a separate municipal account and has yet to be spent – until now.
By state law, a city or town must first document the costs incurred before receiving an impact fee payment. Lee town officials said “perceived fears” that the pottery shop would be a financial burden on the town have been proven to be unfounded. For this reason, the Select Board said Canna Provisions did not have to pay the million dollars owed in community impact fees starting in its second year of operation.
But, the board has reserved the right to reinstate fee collection and will rely on other cannabis companies to pay for public safety improvements once they start to turn a profit.