Hank Sims / Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 @ 2:54 p.m. / Local Government, Marijuana and/or Cannabis
With Its Weed Business Booming, City of Rio Dell Makes Pitch for Cannabis Tax on November Ballot
Rio Dell has big plans for the old Eel River Sawmills site north of the city. They’ve rechristened the site the “Humboldt-Rio Dell Business Park,” and people are ready to develop it into a top-notch cannabis processing mecca.
There’s a special cannabis tax measure on the Rio Dell ballot next month — Measure X — that city government believes could pump as much as $1 million into the city’s coffers annually, given the business park’s promise. Below, the city makes its pitch for the tax.
Press release from the City of Rio Dell:
What is Measure X? Inside Rio Dell’s Cannabis Taxation Measure.
On November 7, 2017, voters in Rio Dell will decide the fate of Measure X, a cannabis taxation measure aimed at generating needed revenue in order to pay for streets, infrastructure, public safety and other services for the citizens of Rio Dell. The tax is applied only to commercial cannabis operators and not the general public. The measure would allow the city to collect up to 10% of gross receipts from these businesses and the starting rate will be 2%. Cultivation may be taxed using a separate methodology involving a square footage assessment of up to $5.00 per square foot, but the starting rate will be $2.00 per square foot. Commercial cannabis operators will be required to pay all other taxes, including payroll and property taxes. Estimates of the revenue potential of this measure are $980,000 annually, subject to numerous variables that may increase or decrease the actual receipts.
Proceeds from this tax may be used for any public purpose but the City Council has prioritized streets, other infrastructure and police services. The tax proceeds and their uses would be subject to annual independent audits which would become part of the City’s public record.
Measure X follows on the heels of Measure T which appeared before the voters of Rio Dell last year on November 8, 2016. Measure T was a non‐binding advisory measure that presented the following question: “Should the City of Rio Dell, by the necessary and appropriate action, permit commercial cannabis business activity, including cannabis cultivation, testing, processing and sales, within the area of the City that is located to the north of the Eel River and commonly referred to as the Sawmill Annexation Area if that activity is subject to local taxation?” The voters of Rio Dell responded to this question with 53.41% saying yes.
Measure X is the culmination of over two years of community effort to bring this economic development opportunity to the City. The City Council spent much of 2016 hammering out a land use ordinance that would allow commercial cannabis operations at the former Eel River Sawmills facility, now renamed the Humboldt – Rio Dell Business Park. Strategically located in the center of Humboldt County along the US‐101, the Humboldt ‐ Rio Dell Business Park is situated to be a regional center for value‐added processing in the newly legal cannabis industry.
The Business Park is located on prime industrial lands that are separate and distinct from Rio Dell’s residential neighborhoods. The Business Park has sat largely idle since the last logs were milled around 2005 and the proposed use of the area as a regional manufacturing center for cannabis does not compete with or displace other pre‐existing uses. As of October 2017, 50,000 square feet of new development has been approved by the Planning Commission, potentially creating over 100 living wage jobs.
“What has already been approved by the Planning Commission represents the largest economic development projects in the City’s history. And there’s more in the works. This community has been hit hard over the past 30 years of economic takeaways associated with the decline of the timber industry. Measure X represents a unique opportunity to invest in public safety, streets and all of the things that will help make this community successful and sustainable in the long‐term,” states City Manager Kyle Knopp.