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Sycamore City Council to look at marijuana zoning, tax levy

SYCAMORE – At its next meeting, the Sycamore City Council will look at recommendations for zoning ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana sales.

At its Nov. 11 meeting of the city’s planning and zoning commission, commissioners recommended ordinances that would limit the number of dispensaries based on the city’s population allowing for one dispensary per 9,000 residents. With Sycamore’s current population of about 17,000, the city can have at most one dispensary after recreational sales are legalized Jan. 1.

Other regulations laid out include prohibiting on-site consumption, craft growers or drive-thru dispensaries. It also will have to follow state laws and not maintain open hours beyond 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The city voted Nov. 4 to allow adult-use recreational cannabis dispensaries beginning Jan. 1.

Also on Monday’s agenda, the council will look at four options for next year’s tax levy.

The first option is to maintain the city’s tax rate at about 0.687 The total levy for 2019 would be $3,245,861 – a 6% overall increase from 2018.

According to city documents, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $20 more than last year.

The second option would keep the city’s levy the same at $3,061,425.

Taxpayers who own a home valued at about $200,000 would pay $7.45 less in the city portion of their property tax bill.

A third option is to maintain the tax levy and apply a rate to new construction. This would raise the city’s total levy by $50,549 from $3,061,425 to $3,111,974, a 1.65% overall increase

The average single-family homeowner would pay a one cent decrease in the city portion of their property tax bill.

The final option is to increase the levy by using a 1.9% inflation factor.

The owner of a $200,000 homeowner would pay $8.69 more in the city portion of their property tax bill.

“Staff is cautiously optimistic when assessing the strength of the city’s key revenue sources,” according to the agenda. “While property tax revenues have diminished as a percentage of the city’s budget, there continues to be reason for optimism as new development and investment in the community continues to increase.”

City staff members are recommending the third option, but looking for guidance from the council. The option would meet the state’s requirements for funding pensions. It would also keep the property tax rate at the same as it was in 2018.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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