Sturgis City Council passed first reading on the city budget & zoning of medical cannabis

STURGIS, S.D.(KBHB) – Sturgis Council members passed first reading of their 2022 budget Monday night.

The new budget is a little over one-million dollars more than 2021 and contains good news for property owners.

Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie says the city will see its Mill Levy drop to its lowest rate in 30 years.

The reduction in property taxes has been funded through a growth in a variety of non-property tax revenue. The major contributors allowing for the reduction include the increased profitability of the liquor store, the annual motorcycle rally, increased revenue from interest payments made to the city on TIF Loans, increased sales tax revenue and an increase in contractor licenses and building permits.

Ainslie also says the city’s general fund remains in a very strong position, with a reserve of 229-percent of its annual operational budget. The fund has been increasing for several years as the City’s growth related income have increased and the General Fund’ expenditures have decreased.

Ainslie says an additional $1.3-million in CARES act funds will help the fund’s reserves.

The Sturgis Council on Monday passed first reading of two separate ordinances that deal with medical marijuana.

The first is an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that will authorize Cannabis growing operations in the Industrial Zone and testing and retail in commercial zones. The ordinance adds a required distance separating Cannabis establishments and a distance requirement separating a Cannabis business from a residence.

The second ordinance includes regulations setting the parameters for Cannabis business licenses.

There are three types of businesses that could be licensed, including dispensaries, cultivation and manufacturing and testing.

The city is recommending a total of four dispensary licenses be authorized. This was determined after significant discussion and a review of the number of establishments in other states.

Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie says the proposed ordinance also establishes a process by which licenses can be applied for and the way in which licenses will be recommended to be issued by the city.

Regardless of which avenue the city takes, Ainslie says these potentials would need the state to authorize. He anticipates the Legislature to begin discussing these options at their next session.

That’s why, for now, the city is not awarding or accepting any applications for medical cannabis licenses.