Fort Lupton adds two items to November ballot

Marijuana grow tax, Rec Center expansion make the cut

Steve Smith
Posted 8/31/22

November ballot expands in Fort Lupton

By Steve Smith

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Fort Lupton adds two items to November ballot

Marijuana grow tax, Rec Center expansion make the cut


A new excise tax on retail marijuana sales will make November's ballot in Fort Lupton, but only by  a one-vote margin.

Council voted 4-3 to put the question to the voters. Valerie Blackston, Claud Hanes and Chris Ceretto cast the “no” votes.

If voters approve, the tax would amount to 1.5 percent on future grow operations. Council will have to adopt an ordinance to outline the rules for grow operations later — if voters approve the tax question — much as council did when voters approved the sale of medical and retail marijuana two years ago.

Earlier this year, council approved retail and medical marijuana licenses for four businesses, all away from the downtown area.

“I’m curious if this has to go this year,” Blackston said. “I feel it would be a better idea to wait and see what comes of retail.”

Mayor Zo Stieber Hubbard said grow operations and retail/medical marijuana businesses were different.

“Growing operations allow the farming of marijuana for sale to other businesses outside the city,” she said. “Higher revenue is a possibility.”

“It could be an additional strain on law enforcement,” Blackston said. “I don’t know what retail is going to do. There could be no impact at all.”

Staff notes said the tax rate would not exceed 4 percent. The ordinance proposed a collection of $100,000 worth of taxes in the first fiscal year (2023) and by whatever amounts come as the result of the tax rate in succeeding years. Council can raise or lower the tax rate as long as it doesn’t exceed 4%.

Rec center expansion

Council had an easier time of things in deciding to ask voters in November to extend bonds used to build the recreation center. The council’s vote was unanimous.

The original bonds are due to expire in December. If voters approve, the new bond money would finance an expansion of the present center, including a new, warm-water pool, the addition of what parks and recreation Director Monty Schuman called “a middle-school sized gym) and an expanded fitness room.

The price tag is about $10 million. Yearly payments would be capped at $608,00 with a repayment cap of no more than $18 million, according to the ordinance.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.


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