Nokomis Council Debates Cannabis License Fee

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Mayor Russ Foster called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Nokomis City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov.25, with all council members present.

As directed by Mayor Foster, the council discussed how to proceed on an ordinance to establish a cannabis distributor permit.  The members of the council had all been allowed to review the draft of an ordinance drawn up by the city attorney and modeled after the city of Litchfield ordinance.  Subsequent discussion centered on the number of licenses to create and the cost of the license. 

Foster pointed out that it was the city's prerogative to decide how many permits would be created and how much to charge for them, however state regulations would limit the number of qualifying locations in a small area like Nokomis.

Commissioner Michael Holliday likened the permit to the alcohol distribution permits issued at a cost of $600 per year.  Foster thought that with the possibility of only one or two permits being available, the cannabis permit should be more valuable, suggesting an $800 price tag.  Commissioner Ann Brookshire reminded the council that their proposed ordinance also called for a $1,000 surety bond. 

She then proposed the license fee equal the $1,000 surety bond, which the rest of the council agreed with. 

Commissioner Jocko Nash made a motion to adopt the cannabis ordinance as submitted by attorney Chris Hantla to create a single license with a fee of $1,000.  Commissioner Derek Durbin seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously on a roll call vote by the council.

After the council approved payment of bills in the amount of $17,482.62 as presented and moved by Durbin, seconded by Holliday, Durbin reported revenues received. The council discussed an application to hold a 5K race on Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m. which included a request for the police to monitor the intersection of Union and Stevens streets.  Nash made a motion to grant a permit and police assistance to the second annual First Noelle 5K on Dec. 7.  Durbin seconded the motion and the council voted unanimously to approve.

Mayor Foster then opened discussion on the enrollment of city employees in Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance coverage.  He said he would like to find out more about coverage for employees' spouses and dependents than the information they had received from the insurance representative in the first presentation made.  He asked that Brookshire take the lead on the project and requested the clerk ask the plan representative come back and speak with them at his earliest availability. 

With this in mind, he asked to table further discussion and a decision until the scheduled Dec. 9 meeting.

In other business, Holliday made a motion to accept the 2020 motor fuel tax agreement with Hurst-Roche.  The motion was seconded by Nash and approved unanimously by the council.

Earlier, Nash presented a business grant application from Monica Florence to upgrade the power at her business.  Based on the required two estimates which she provided, he made a motion to approve the grant in the amount of $1,442.50; half the lower estimate, as per the ordinance.  His motion was seconded by Durbin and approved unanimously on a roll call vote.

The council went into closed session at 7:35 p.m. and after returning at 8:48 p.m., Nash moved to approve the pay raises for the non-union employees of the police department retroactive to May 1, 2019.  Holliday seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved on a roll call vote.  Holliday made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:49 p.m., which was seconded by Nash and unanimously approved.

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