Why should Bayfield residents support lifting the ban on marijuana dispensaries within the town limits?
The answer is simply that the more taxes that stay locally, rather than leaking to our neighboring cities, the more services and maintenance our town can provide. And our town does provide these services and supports to people living outside the town limits free of charge. When a Forest Lakes resident sends their child to a recreation program in Bayfield, they pay no more or less then a child who lives in town.
Taxes that are collected for Bayfield are used to fund the many departments that make up our town. We have a recreation department, the senior center, our marshal's office, etc. Lifting the ban on dispensaries leaves it open to future growth opportunities for each of these departments. Quite possibly a local person will open their own cannabis shop and employ people locally who will eat locally, shop locally and this shop will bring in people from neighboring communities.
The downtown Block Parties that started in the summer of 2016 has been one effort to bring more people downtown to generate not just social activity but the exchange of local money supporting local people. The new Bayfield Downtown Farmers Market that will begin its second season in June is another example of bringing people together, thus more activity where small businesses can greet the public. The idea is that currency is exchanged locally.
I have been a community organizer for the Town of Bayfield since initiating a committee that spearheaded the one-cent sales tax in town to help maintain drainage issues and maintenance for our streets in town. Sales tax gives our town the opportunity to use that revenue to help all of our residents and visitors as they navigate throughout town. Without passage of that same sales tax, our town was faced with passing that expense onto all residents by increasing fees for services, eliminated services and eliminating some town staff. That scenario never played out fortunately because our residents voted by more than 60 percent to pass the sales tax onto all people who visit. Smart decision!
Now it is time to make another smart decision. If a dispensary is built it is quite possible that hundreds of thousands of dollars will be added to Bayfield's budget to support the many services that our town provides to its residents and non-residents. Strict rules and regulation about location and security issues have already been addressed by neighboring towns so Bayfield being a latecomer is a good thing in this respect.
It is a matter of keeping the taxes that are generated from the legal sale of marijuana locally rather than the leakage that is occurring to neighboring cities and towns.
Support lifting the ban on dispensaries. Imagine our town as more vibrant, with more recreational opportunities and facilities, more services to seniors, development of the southern borders of the river trail, new signs that decorate the town and provide people directions that are accurate! This is what I envision for our town.
Instead of disagreeing, think about what your vision may be and how we can get there together. Let's agree to open the doors to bringing in more commerce. Our small town's vision and values can be read on the town's web site at bayfieldgov.org. Let's be progressive and encourage economic growth.