AuSable Township amends budget to include funds from marijuana excise tax | News

AUSABLE TWP. — The AuSable Township 2022 budget will see a boost of $56,453.44 from the sale of recreational marijuana. The township board of trustees unanimously approved Budget Resolution 2022-04 at their regular April 18 meeting to include the funds in the 2022 budget. Motion by Trustee Yvette Ramsdell, support from Trustee Alanda Barnes.

According to Treasurer Mary Jo Samotis, this is the first payment the township has received for marijuana and the funds were not included in the 2022 budget. The payment was received on March 31 and makes up approximately 7 percent of the township’s general revenue.

The state of Michigan collects 10 percent excise tax on the purchase of recreational marijuana. According to Superintendent Eric Strayer, 15 percent of the money collected by the state of Michigan is divided among the municipalities that had marijuana provisioning centers permitted for the entire year. The revenue covers the period from Oct. 2020-Sept. 2021.

The township does not have any specific plans to use the additional funds. According to Strayer most of the funds will be used to cover additional costs due to inflation. One example he provided was heavy equipment the township will be purchasing.

There was a significant increase in cost, nearly $10,000, from the original quote in 2021 to the purchase price in 2022. He also mentioned that some of the money may go to road repairs, which he said are very expensive.

PUFF Cannabis Company, located in AuSable Township, originally received a medical marijuana permit in 2017 under the name Northern Roots. On Nov. 6, 2018, Michigan voters approved Proposal 1, legalizing recreational marijuana. Michigan was the 10th state in the country, and the first in the Midwest, to legalize cannabis for recreational use. State licensed sales of recreational marijuana began in December 2019. Medical use was legalized in 2008.

According to Samotis, PUFF is the only business in AuSable Township that has received a provisioning center permit. The township has approved other permits for growing cannabis.

In other business the board took the following actions:

  • At the request of Strayer, unanimously approved a pay increase for the Department of Public Works (DPW) seasonal employee from $13.37 per hour to $15.57 per hour. According to Strayer the increase is due to competitive wages being offered in the job market and is an attempt to “retain the talent and knowledge that we have in the individual that currently has this position”. Ramsdell asked Strayer how he arrived at the per hour amount. He responded that he had spoken with the employee. Samotis said that the employee has been with the township for the past three years and is very organized. Motion by Barnes, support from Samotis.
  • Unanimously approved extending the terms of Trustee Diana London and Shayne Janis who serve on the Planning Commission. Both terms were ending on May 1 but will be extended for another three years to May 1, 2025. Both motions were made by Beliveau and only required a roll call vote.
  • Unanimously approved extending Township Supervisor Kevin Beliveau’s term on the Zoning Board of Appeals for three years to May 1, 2025. Beliveau’s term is expiring on May 1, he has agreed to continue to serve until a suitable replacement can be found. He originally took the position when a member of the board passed away. Motion by Samotis.
  • Unanimously approved selling two parcels of land to Robert and Tania Ziegler for $500. According to a letter from the Zieglers, they recently purchased a house on Second Street. The two lots, owned by the township, are adjacent to the lot they purchased and due to setback restrictions are non-buildable. According to Township Supervisor Kevin Beliveau, this statement is not true, both lots are buildable, a house would just be limited in size. According to the township assessor, Jessica Landry, the two lots are valued at $10,403. The 900 square foot house the Zieglers purchased sits on a corner lot. With the purchase of the two adjacent lots, the Zieglers are hoping to be able to add a garage or addition to their home in the future. Motion by Trustee Gina Cinquino, support from Barnes. The trustees discussed that the properties would no longer need to be maintained by the township, a savings of approximately $250 per year, and that they would become part of the tax base.
  • Unanimously approved Pay Application #10 from Consumers Energy in the amount of $753.25 for work to be completed at the Lake and Huron lift stations. The expense will be reimbursed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Motion by Samotis, support from Clerk Kelly Graham.

Informational items included the following:

  • Graham reported that the township had received a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Trails Fund for the Iron Belle Trail. She also reported that survey crews will be up this week to resurvey the parts of US 23 where the sewer extension project has been completed.
  • Strayer reported that work had continued on the sewer extension project and that work was being completed on the lift stations on Lake and Huron streets.
  • Strayer also reported that he is starting work on the 2023 Capital Improvement Plan and is seeking input from the board and residents who live in AuSable on what roads need repairs. Beliveau said that it had been a while since the township budgeted for road repairs and that there are several intersections that are getting bad. Strayer mentioned that Johnson Road was pretty bad. Residents who want to make Strayer aware of roads in AuSable Township that need to be repaired can send an e-mail to or call him at 739-9169.
  • Beliveau reported that the trustees were still trying to schedule a meeting with Oscoda Township officials to discuss the sewer rates. He referred to the process as “frustrating.”
  • Strayer reported that he has not been able to find a business that can provide mosquito control for the township.

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