Marijuana-related budget boon becomes clearer in Center Line

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 22, 2021

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CENTER LINE — Center Line has its budget approved for the coming fiscal year, and they’re also getting a better idea of what the influx of cash from medical and recreational marijuana facilities doing business in the city will look like going forward.

The City Council voted unanimously 4-0 to approve a $10.7 million budget for fiscal year 2022 on June 7. Councilman/Mayor Pro Tem James Reid was not present for the vote.

“It’s a good budget. It’s a very good budget,” Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said on June 10. “I think the biggest story is the revenue realized, anticipated for the marijuana regulation laws that we have in place.

“We identified those revenue sources and expenses as a separate fund in the budget this year, so we can track it and be able to report to the taxpayers what successes we’re having.”

The proposed budget document included an explanation of the MRA fund, initiated for the coming fiscal year, to “separately account for the revenues and expenses related to the activities of medical and recreational marijuana establishments” in the city.

According to the document published on the city’s website, the revenues had been recognized in the general fund in years prior, with related expenses included for disbursement through the city’s funds for general and public safety services.

“This is a first step toward consolidating sources and uses with the aim of accurately measuring the potential of generating funds to meet City needs, in particular capital needs, without unduly burdening taxpayers,” the budget document indicated.

According to the published numbers, Center Line was expected to pull in marijuana-related revenues totaling $370,000 for the fiscal year. That would include annual application, permit and inspection fees for both medical and recreational marijuana facilities. The same amount is listed in the forecasts for the city’s 2023 and 2024 fiscal years, as part of the triennial budget.

Of that amount, the city expects to spend $184,722 on expenses related to governing, licensing and policing marijuana-related operations. That would include $92,543 in administrative costs through the public safety fund for a chief code enforcement officer, and an additional $10,000 for administrative and clerical support. The revenue will also pay 5% of the City Council’s total compensation ($1,046), 25% of the city manager’s salary and benefits ($34,763) and an additional 5% ($21,370) of the total administrative and clerical support expenses disbursed through the general fund.

The balance, an estimated $185,778, “can be utilized as the Administration and City Council determines,” according to the published budget document, but Champine said it must be for MRA-related expenses.

Champine said the overall budget, as approved, included a slight reduction in the millage rate and no increases in costs for water and sewer services.

“Everything across the board is good for the taxpayers in Center Line,” Champine said.

Center Line Mayor Bob Binson added, “I think we’re looking good. We’ve got a decent fund balance and we keep increasing on that. We’ve really done a good job of paying down our debt. I’m optimistic that we can add to that.

“We were really happy to have the ability to come to a consensus.”

Go to www.centerline.gov to view the city’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

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