Rochester City Council – Pot Retailer Ordinance & Sales Tax Vote
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council has a busy agenda Monday evening with eight public hearings scheduled, including one that involves the state law legalizing recreational marijuana as of August 1.
City staff is proposing a new ordinance that would limit the number of businesses that would be licensed to sell cannabis products to 1 per 12,500 residents. The population calculation will use the estimated annual headcount from the Minnesota State Demographic Center. The most recent estimate put Rochester's population at around 122,600 people, which would limit the number of cannabis business licenses allowed to nine.
The proposed ordinance would also prohibit the establishment of a new cannabis business in Rochester until January 1, 2025. Prior to that date, new population estimates will become available and will likely push the number of licenses available for cannabis retail businesses to at least 10.
The City Council is also expected to vote Monday evening on a resolution to schedule a special election on November 7th for a proposal to extend the city's current half-cent local sales tax for approximately 24 years.
It's estimated the extension of the tax will bring in about $205 million. The proposal would direct the funding to four major initiatives: an economic vitality fund, street reconstruction, flood control and water quality, and a sports and recreation complex.
The State Legislature this year authorized the city to pursue voter approval for the sales tax extension and gave the city the option of presenting the proposal to voters as a single ballot question or splitting the ballot into four questions for each of the initiatives. City staff is recommending a single budget question covering all of the proposals.
The Rochester School Board is also considering scheduling a special election on the same date. School District Superintendent Kent Pekel is currently working on his recommendations for a potential increase in the public school systems existing $17 million operating levy and/or a new levy to fund technology infrastructure needs. A decision by the school board is expected next month.