Pontiac voters to decide on medical marijuana facilities
Pontiac -- From pot ordinances to millions of dollars in transportation and public safety questions, voters across Oakland County will decide a multitude of issues Aug. 7.
In Pontiac, residents will vote on three initiatives approved by their city council on the future of medical marijuana facilities there.
Proposal One, put on the ballot through referendum by an East Lansing-based group, Jobs for Pontiac, would permit 20 provisioning centers – more commonly known as dispensaries – for medical marijuana and an unlimited number of growers, processors, security transporters and safety compliance facilities, providing they meet all requirements of state law and city ordinances.
Two other choices were authored by the city council. Proposal Two would permit only four provisioning centers and two growers, processors, security transporters and safety compliance facilities. Under Proposal Three, voters would approve or reject an ordinance opting out of any medical marijuana facilities.
If more than one proposal passes, the one with the most yes votes will take effect.
“Whatever proposal has the most votes will pass," said Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, noting voters will cast ballots on each proposal. “The city council has offered voters alternatives to the initial proposal and it will be interesting to see what residents want. We have received calls and they are pretty split on whether they want a large number of centers or none at all.”
Matt Abel, a criminal defense attorney who founded Cannabis Counsel, devoted to cannabis clients and cases, said the city has done the right thing.
“Sounds as if they have decided to let voters choose whether they will permit several centers, a few centers or none at all,” said Abel, who is working for statewide legalization of marijuana use. “We naturally prefer the first proposal but at least they are providing voters with choices. And that’s good, providing they know what they are voting for or against.
“Our view is the more provisioning centers, the better because it can be an economic boon for Pontiac and other cities,” Abel said. “It can help with the restoring of vacant or underused buildings and provide jobs.”
Three townships are seeking approval of funding for transit for seniors, people with disabilities and low-income residents. A five-year, North Oakland Transportation Authority millage renewal would levy 0.25 mills in Addison Township, 0.245 mills in Orion Township and 0.2409 mills in Oxford Township. In its first year, the millage would raise about $84,646 in Addison Township, $402,818 in Orion Township and $207,690 in Oxford Township.
Elsewhere in the county, millions of dollars are on the ballot in police, fire and public safety millages, mostly renewals.
In Addison Township, voters will decide a renewal of 3.4874 mills for four years for police services (raising $1.2 million in its first year) and a renewal of 2.25 mills for six years for fire and ambulance service (raising $788,655 its first year).
Highland Township voters face a 1-mill, 20-year levy to fund acquisition, construction, improvement and purchases for the fire department, with $744,388 to be raised in the first year. The township also seeks renewal of 3.4319 mills for six years for police services, a levy that would generate $2.6 million in the first year.
Independence Township wants to levy 2.8678 mills for police services for five years, with the tax generating $4.5 million its first year.
Milford Township is asking for 1.25 mills for 10 years for fire services, a tax that would raise $1.1 million its first year.
Oak Park want to renew 0.985 mills for 10 years for funding public safety (raising about $472,500 in its first year) and 7 mills for seven years to fund the retirement system for public safety officers (raising about $3.5 million in its first year).
Waterford Township is asking voters to decide a special assessment of 2.95 mills for 12 years to fund police and fire services, which would about raise about $6 million in its first year.
White Lake Township wants voters to renew 4.0371 mills for four years for police services (raising $4.5 million its first year) and renew 1.8792 mills for four years for fire services (which would raise $2.1 million in its first year).
Parks and recreation
Several communities have tax requests on the ballot for parks, recreation and related services. Bloomfield Township seeks a 0.46555-mill renewal for five years, which is expected to raise $1.8 million in the first year. Independence Township seeks a renewal of .432 mills for 10 years to continue its safety path program (to raise $684,212 in its first year). Orion Township want to renew a 0.2293 mill levy for 10 years to establish, maintain and repair its safety paths (the tax would raise about $384,059 in its first year).
Farmington Hills has a charter amendment to renew 0.4781 mills for 10 years, to raise $1.6 million in the first year for parks and recreation facilities and program projects. Orion Township wants to levy up to 1 mill for five years for operation, equipment, personnel and maintenance of parks and recreation, raising $1.7 million in its first year.
Libraries and schools
Library millage issues are on the ballot in two communities. Highland Township voters face a 0.7127-mill proposal (which includes a 0.3127-mill renewal) for 10 years for all library purposes, which would raise about $553,000 expected the first year. White Lake Township wants to renew 0.3861 mill for eight years, a tax that would generate $429,000 in its first year.
Berkley school district voters will decide on a sinking fund proposal of 3 mills for 10 years, which would raise $3 million the first year.
In the Hazel Park school district, voters will decide whether to approve an 18-mill replacement levy for 20 years, a tax that would raise an estimated $3 million in its first year for general operating expenses. Also on the ballot is a 3-mill, 10-year building and site sinking fund, which would generate.$937,885 in its first year.