Originally published 5:58 AM Sep 13, 2022
Updated September 13, 2022 at 7:49 a.m.
(KNSI) — Many topics were discussed Monday night at the St. Cloud City Council meeting. Among them is St. Cloud’s preliminary budget.
The budget was set at $82,216,300, an increase of 4.04% over last year. Council members George Hontos, Steve Laraway and Carol Lewis asked Mayor Dave Kleis about a 17% increase in property valuations and new growth.
“If we don’t take advantage of this growth, we wouldn’t be able to hire six more police officers. We wouldn’t be able to do the paving that we do because those inflationary costs are hitting the city the same way they are in the assessment.
Kleis says residents aren’t expected to see the same kind of increases in coming years.
“It’s a healthy market. This is why you are selling your property. We do not fix the valuation. We also look at trends. You’re not going to see the double digits in the forecasts we have for next year. It looks like the values will stabilize. We already see it in these trends.
He says the city is spending a million dollars less when adjusted for inflation than the 2012 budget a decade ago. The city’s budget cannot be increased until the final vote on the levy in December.
St. Cloud also became one of the first in Minnesota on Monday night to approve an ordinance regulating and allowing the sale of THC edibles.
City Attorney Renee Courtney said the products are legal as of July 1 in Minnesota and will be whether or not the city approves an ordinance. She says the bylaw gives the city a say in how products are sold, including confining them to stores.
“Not a pop-up store. They don’t sell it in the back of a car. At festivals you may have seen where people set up a tent, things of that nature. That’s really the goal here. We want it to be a retail establishment. So we’re not preventing the sale because they’re allowed to sell it, but we want to make sure it’s sold at a fixed location. Currently, right now, they could sell it wherever they want.
Nathan Philippi owns Mr. Nice Guys in St. Cloud and supports the city ordinance. He plans to sell the products and looks forward to working with the city.
“It’s mostly older people with a lot of health issues that are asking a lot of these things. We really want to work with the city to make sure it’s regulated fairly and to make sure we’re not selling to minors.
He asks the city to help him understand the labeling and packaging requirements.
The new regulation section for the sale of THC products is an addition to the City’s 2007 Ordinance Code. It implements a schedule of compliance checks similar to that of establishments selling alcohol. At least once a year, the police department sent an underage shopper to each store to try to make an illegal purchase.
Stores must pay a $500 license to operate, and each request will be forwarded to police for review. Products would be prohibited from using cartoon characters or packaging that imitates toys or other brands sold primarily to children. Offering samples or selling THC products at a discount would be prohibited. Self-service kiosks would also be banned and all THC products must be kept in secure bins behind the counter.
Penalties for any violation of the code begin with a $300 fine. A second offense could result in a 30-day license suspension. Anything more than that for three years would result in the revocation of a store’s license.
The measure is passed unanimously.
St. Cloud also approved a professional services agreement for a planning study for the construction of a new fire station and regional training center.
The planning commission recommended the station for South St. Cloud due to growth in that part of town. According to the city, South St. Cloud has seen significant development in recent years, including a combination of single and multi-family homes, retail, and several large educational institutions. According to the fire department, many of the city’s fire stations are too remote for a quick response.
Officials say firefighters across the region are traveling long distances to get the required live-fire training and education. This facility will provide compliant training to St. Cloud firefighters, coordinate the delivery of fire services throughout the region, and enjoy the financial benefits of co-locating with a fire station.
The goal would be to have a new station in place by the end of 2024. The proposed study will cost approximately $35,200. It would be the city’s sixth fire station.
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