December 6, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 33

ML council passes pot moratorium

Affects sale and processing of marijuana until further direction comes from the state

The city of Medical Lake unanimously adopted a moratorium on the processing and retailing of marijuana on land-use applications.

Marijuana use, by the passage of I-502 last month, becomes legal today, Dec. 6. The state has until December 2013 to finalize its rules regarding marijuana, and some cities are passing similar moratoriums until some direction comes from the state level.

“What most cities are doing, and what I would propose to you, is passing this moratorium since we don’t know what we’re supposed to do on issues of this instance,” City Administrator Doug Ross told the City Council.

At the Tuesday, Dec. 4 council meeting, Ross said the ordinance doesn’t affect usage in Medical Lake, but rather prevents its sale and distribution.

“I don’t want the people to think we’re circumventing the will of the people,” he said.

Medical Lake’s tree lighting ceremony will take place this Friday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m., at Coney Island Park. Kids can meet Santa as he arrives, and families are invited to watch the movie “Home Alone” at City Hall after the event.

There was only one change in the city’s preliminary budget from the previous meeting. The city typically lists property tax at a lower amount than what it expects to receive during the year, as the time of tax submissions varies between property owners. Spokane County, however, requested the city to list the maximum amount of taxes collected in its budget.

As a result, the amount of taxes increased $5,000 on paper as reflected in the city’s current expense fund, but would have been received regardless.

Ross also said the Association of Washington Cities put out a new survey showing the water and sewer rates of cities, comparing it to state averages. Medical Lake falls below the state average in both areas.

The city’s water rates per 1,000 cubic feet are at $24.23, while the state average is $45.33.

Also the City Council meeting included a first reading setting salaries and compensation for city employees. Ross said no changes were made from 2012’s levels.

Along with the ordinance, two resolutions setting levels of administrative fees and utility rates for 2013 were passed. No changes were made in the administrative fees, although there is a 3.5 percent increase in garbage rates.

“That’s due to the CPI increase and the tipping fee increase at the Waste-to-Energy Plant. That’s passed through the cost from the contract to the city. We simply passed it on through the rates,” Ross said. “The amount the city collects does not change.”

During the public safety commission’s report, Councilman Art Kulibert said there were 42 calls received by the Fire Department, of which 35 were emergency medical service related. One structure fire was reported, along with one missed call, ending a long streak of no missed calls for the department that lasted from the summer until last month.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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