More smoke: Another Valley community to weigh allowing cannabis shops

As Valley communities wrestle with how to raise revenue post-pandemic, one is reverting to an option leaned on heavily before COVID: weed.

The community of Avenal is planning a November ballot vote on an increase of 1 percent in sales tax as well as a measure to tax cannabis sold in the city.

The cannabis tax would require the city to allow dispensaries in town, not permitted now. A general sales tax increase would generate between $400,000 and $500,000 annually, and indefinitely, they say.


As to a cannabis tax, a staff report said “The closest comparison staff felt comfortable utilizing is Coalinga, which in FY 2021-22 projected $1.2 million in revenues, but in years prior from 2018-20 had averaged between $450,000 – $800,000.”

The deadline to approve a tax ordinance will be by the July 14 regular City Council meeting.

An earlier staff report said “While the City continues to manage with the funding that it has, general fund revenue growth has not kept pace with the increasing costs of providing services to a growing population and inflated prices.

“The City’s main sources of revenue are property taxes, sales taxes, DMV fees, and any building and services fees.

“The City has the lowest per capita revenue in the county, has a little less than half the national average of police officers per capita for a city of comparable size (18 full time positions to 34 national average), is amongst the lowest paying city employers in the county for most positions (and as such has difficulties retaining employees), and has infrastructure concerns for its buildings, park, roads, sidewalks and public facilities. There are new services that community members expect, that the City does not and cannot provide.”

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