Marijuana act money to go toward local streets

BURTON — The city’s anticipated annual $140,000 windfall, its portion of revenue from recreational marijuana facilities in Burton, will be put toward fixing local streets.

City council voted unanimously April 5 to place the $140,006.60 it received from the state for its portion of recreational marijuana permit fees into a fund for local street preservation.

On March 4, the Michigan Department of Treasury began distributing more than $45.7 million collected from taxes and fees under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (Initiated Law 1 of 2018).

The city received $140,000 total from the five marijuana businesses in the city of Burton – a sum that is expected to become annual revenue for the city.

Mayor Duane Haskins asked the council April 5 if it wanted to put the money toward local streets, as it discussed in March, or if it had other plans for the money.

“If it’s council’s wish to put that $140,000 into street preservation, we were wondering if there is any way you can make a motion tonight just to secure that?” said Haskins. “Not asking for any transfers yet, we just need security if that’s your intentions about what you want to do.”

Haskins said the council decision would allow the city to secure contractors to get started on the work as soon as possible.

Charles Abbey, director of the Burton Department of Public Works, said the council mentioned trying to utilize all resources possible to start tackling some of the city’s ailing local streets with a multitude of different approaches which the DPW has been analyzing

“We have the contractor from last year getting ready to start, we’re one of the first one’s on their docket,” said Abbey. “Once they get started and they’re in an area to do that work, it would be an ideal time because we get better pricing because they are already here. If they move on, we might not get them back this construction season.”

Abbey said the city would like to see the work done by July 1.

Councilman Tom Martinbianco asked where the administration wanted to spend the money, to which Abbey replied the south end of the city.

He said work would focus on the south end off Maple Road, possibly doing a little more than chip and seal work to the pavement on streets there.

“We’re going to fog seal them too, where we don’t get a lot of the brushing off of the stone,” said Abbey.

A fog seal is a light application of a diluted slow-setting asphalt emulsion to the surface of an aged (oxidized) pavement surface. Fog seals are low-cost and are used to restore flexibility to an existing hot mix asphalt pavement surface.

Abbey said the city would do cost assessments because some of the streets in the city, though in bad shape, are very salvageable. One such area being looked at for work is the Killarny Park neighborhood off Killarny Park Street.

“They are still salvageable, and we can buy a lot of years of life with that money,” said Abbey. “And then we’ll just keep going, the worst ones that are still manageable. We’ll give (council) a list of them before we do them, but we’ll go down the list and go to the next ones and see how far the money that’s left will go. We’ll keep going until the money runs out.”

Councilman Vaughn Smith said with the $90,000 currently budget for 2020-21 and the addition of $140,000, that gives Burton $230,000 for local streets.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I just wanted to see where it goes. I knew we hadn’t done much, then the administration put $90,000 in, now another $140,000 added. So that’s going from $0 to $230,000. That’s a heck of a good start. So, I’m very happy with that.

Abbey said he agreed it would be a good start and if it goes well, he said maybe next year the city can make it a bigger priority as other potential windfalls of cash come in.