County to discuss medical marijuana Tuesday
The Routt County Board of Commissioners will consider two resolutions about the future of medical marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county during a public meeting Tuesday.
One resolution would ban new medical marijuana dispensaries, grow operations and infused-product makers in the county. The other would extend an existing moratorium on the operation of the businesses until June 30, 2012. Neither would impact the operation of Aloha’s, a medical marijuana dispensary in Milner.
There also will be an opportunity for members of the public to comment at the meeting. It’s scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room on the third floor of the Routt County Courthouse.
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs City Council Tuesday night will consider supporting an application from the city to request about $21.3 million in future sales tax revenues from the state for bike-related projects.
City staff members have prepared the application that, if approved, would provide tax increment financing to pay back Steamboat for $8.5 million in projects; one would transform Yampa Street into a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly “entertainment hub.”
If approved, a sales tax baseline would be established in Steamboat that would have to be exceeded by future revenues to fund the projects throughout no more than 30 years. Because the projects would be paid back through future revenues, the city would issue bonds to fund them.
The financing costs are estimated at no more than $12.8 million, which would be less if the city repaid the bonds faster.
City Manager Jon Roberts said getting approval would accelerate Steamboat becoming a summer biking hub.
“It would very much advance and further an effort that the city is undertaking, which is to increase and enhance non-winter tourism,” he said. “That is an area that is recognized as the area of greatest economic development potential in the city. … There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the community about bicycle-related activities. This would be a way to get some additional revenues over and above what the city is putting into it.”
The Regional Tourism Act created the program, which is slated to provide $50 million to two statewide projects a year for three years.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission will consider applications, which are due June 30.
The review process, which also includes a third-party analyst, is scheduled to last until March 1.
Matt Cheroutes, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade that supports the state’s Economic Development Commission, said about 20 local governments have expressed interest in requesting funding. He said whether that many apply remains to be seen.
Steamboat Government Programs Manager Winnie DelliQuadri said while many Colorado resort communities have similar biking amenities as the city, such as lift-served mountain biking, Steamboat’s application would represent a model for others to follow.
Other projects would create bicycle attractions, improve infrastructure and other amenities and enhance safety.
The only upfront cost to the city would be a fee to pay for the third-party analyst, a cost that hasn’t been determined but wouldn’t be significant, DelliQuadri said. She said future costs would include maintenance and operations for the projects.
Because the funding source relies on unearned sales tax revenues, DelliQuadri said it’s risky, but even the city’s most conservative estimates indicate that taxes will increase enough to pay for the projects.
If Steamboat’s application isn’t approved, DelliQuadri said the city would try to look for funding from other sources, such as grants.
DelliQuadri said, despite the risk and uncertainty, that it still was worth applying for the Regional Tourism Act program funds.
“I think it’s well worth us trying to go for these dollars,” she said. “Would I say we’re guaranteed for funding? No. It’s going to be very competitive, and we’ll see what happens.”
It’s not the only bike-related request City Council members will consider Tuesday night.
The Bike Town USA initiative, supported by city staff, will request $96,240 for bike lanes and striping.
Additional maintenance costs of $18,933 also were included, but not a part of the request.
Also Tuesday night, the City Council will consider:
■ The second reading of Steamboat’s medical marijuana ordinance, which permits cultivation and use by approved caregivers and patients, but not commercial businesses dispensaries, grow operations or infused-product makers. Council members delayed action on the ordinance June 7 in part because they wanted to see an option that they also will consider Tuesday night, which permits commercial businesses to operate in compliance with existing state law.
Steamboat voters will consider in November whether to allow medical marijuana businesses to continue operating in the city.
■ Approving a second reading of an ordinance to amend the city’s municipal code relating to approval procedures for peddlers, solicitors, canvassers or transient sellers.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com