Webb City Council puts 3¢ recreational marijuana sales tax on April ballot

Webb City voters will be asked on April 4 whether the sale of recreational marijuana should be taxed at 3% above the normal rate.

There’s no marijuana dispensary in Webb City, and it’s clear from their comments Monday that a majority of councilmen don’t want one.

In fact, James Dawson (4th Ward) made a motion to begin drafting language for the November 2024 ballot that would “protect our town from recreational marijuana.”

He admitted that the “masses have spoken – now we have to deal with it.”

Constitutional Amendment 3 stipulates that votes to prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana within cities can only be on the same ballot as a presidential election. And a 60% majority is necessary for passage.

While Amendment 3 passed with 53.1% of the vote statewide, City Administrator Carl Francis noted that 58.29% of Jasper County voters were against it.

One rationale for approving the April 4 ballot measure – while being against the sale of recreational all together – is that not collecting the extra tax while surrounding cities do might attract dispenseries and their customers to Webb City. 

Mayor Lynn Ragsdale said not taxing recreational marijuana when other cities do would be an “open invitation to buy it here.”

The vote to place the 3% tax on the April ballot was 6-1. Alisa Barroeta was absent.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) voted no. He said the ballot measure will make the public “think we’re in favor of it (recreational marijuana sales).”

Approving both readings of the ordinance on the same night, as opposed to having the second reading at the next meeting, was necessary to beat the state deadline, on the following day, Jan. 24, to get questions certified for the April ballot.

Dawson’s motion to begin drafting language for the 2024 election was approved unanimously.

 

Grant application to widen East Street with roundabout at Daugherty denied

Francis reported to the council that the city was not awarded a state infrastructure grant to widen East Street from Highway 171 to a proposed roundabout at Daugherty Street. He had applied for $3.25 million from the Governor’s Transportation Cost Share Program.

Now he says the city will explore moving forward with street improvements and the roundabout using city funds and city personnel.

Of course, he says he will seek future grants if they are offered.

 

Another reason to widen East Street

The council, also on both readings, approved an ordinance rezoning nearly 11 acres northeast of the roundabout for commercial use.

Amiel Overman, 831 Rustic Lane, Joplin, owns two tracts behind Sleep Inn and Suites and Flat Creek restaurant. It had been assumed that area, with railroad tracks bordering on the east, would be suited for industrial use. 

The Amiel Overman property (black border) northeast of the roundabout is being rezoned for commercial use. To the left (west) are Sleep Inn and Atwoods. The photo was taken before construction of Flat Creek began.

But now, Francis said Overman will likely subdivide into smaller tracts and sell to commercial developers.

The commercial development will be a “major plus for us,” Francis told the council. In fact, he said the city proposed the rezoning change and is providing an easement so that the Overman properties won’t be landlocked.

Besides Sleep Inn and Flat Creek, construction of a grocery store is expected to begin on that side of East Street.

 

More East Street news

Francis reported that department heads recently met to review plans for a 40-unit apartment complex to be built on 4.59 acres behind commercial property west of East Street and south of Aylor Street. 

The property was previously bought from the city by Evans Construction. 

During closed session, the council agreed to terms for the city to buy back property it had sold for a development that has stalled. It is located on the east side of East Street between the Wasche laundromat and Forever Bed mattress factory.

In other action, the council:

  • Accepted first reading of a bill to rezone 28 S. Webb St. from residential to commercial. Apple Healthcare previously received a special use permit to perform outdoor weddings behind the house. The rezoning will allow that as well as other commercial operations and overnight stays.
  • Approved a motion supporting designation of a proposed U.S. Bicycle Route 51 to promote bicycle tourism from New Orleans, La., to Des Moines, Iowa. Webb City and Carterville are on the route following Route 66 to Carthage and Springfield. Route 51 will be part of the United States Bicycle Route System.
  • Voted to allow Police Chief Don Melton to apply for Division of Highway Safety funds for extra payroll and equipment to conduct DWI Wolfpacks and enforce speed and hazardous moving violations. Melton notes that the city has received $583,091 in such grants during the past 18 years.
  • Voted to allow the police department to purchase six in-car camera systems with Missouri Department of Transportation funds (no cost to the city). They will be purchased from Digital Ally, of Lenexa, Kan., for a total of $27,174. Digital Ally is also the brand of the department’s body cameras, six other patrol car camera systems and software.
  • Voted to allow the police department to purchase 31 infrared wearable safety lights with a $3,874 MoDOT grant (no cost to the city).
  • Voted to allow the police department to purchase 24 sets of five (120) 28-inch collapsible traffic cones from Traffic Safety Warehouse (through Amazon) with $3,059 in MoDOT funds and $84.36 in city funds.
  • Voted to allow the police department to accept a $9,799 (no city match) Department of Public Safety grant to purchase 13 ballistic helmets.
  • Voted to allow the purchase of a system to equip a new communication vehicle that hasn’t been delivered yet. A $9,492 bid from NRoute, of Ozark, including installation, was accepted. Half of the cost will be covered by a State Emergency Management Performance Grant.
  • Approved the purchase of a fence to be installed around the new kids soccer field, which was converted from the old rodeo grounds in King Jack Park. Sutherland’s low bid of $7,455 was accepted.
  • Approved the mayoral appointment of Tim Bodine to a two-year term on the Housing Authority Board of Directors.

During the Jan. 9 meeting, the council approved these mayoral appointments:

  • Gary White to a two-year term on the Center Creek 201 Board of Directors.
  • George Thullesen, Emelie Wolfe and Jack Albert to two-year terms on the Housing Authority Board of Directors. Wolfe and Albert were reappointed.
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