Edgewater City Hall Updates from Councilman Teegardin

From Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin:


Hello Friends and Citizens,


I hope everybody is enjoying a new year and off to a great start.  It’s been business as usual down at City Hall, but I would like to share a few things with you.


Schools-  Some of you may not be aware of the “Jefferson Plan” to change aspects of our schools.  Basically, the major change we could see is the addition of 150-200 students at Jefferson High School.  The addition would be 7th and 8th graders spending their entire academic careers from middle school to high school in one physical space.  There have been pros and cons surrounding this change, and the School Board should be voting on the proposals February 5th.  Joel Newton has been working closely with the process, and if you would like more detailed information regarding the proposed changes, please visit this link here.


Retail Marijuana-  Last Thursday, Council discussed limiting retail marijuana establishments by capping the number that are allowed to exist within the boundaries of Edgewater.  Currently, five are open and a sixth store is set to open on the southwest corner of 20th & Depew.  Due to the Zoning Codes, Council and staff thought five would be the max number.  We were wrong.  Enacting a law that would cap retail marijuana stores would end the conjecture of the possibility of a new retail store opening in town.  I support a cap to limit the the retail establishments.  The majority of Council decided to let the free market determine the course of events and review this experiment every six months.


In my opinion, the reasoning behind this majority decision was threefold:
1) The City has not experienced any negative impacts regarding retail marijuana, including law enforcement activity.
2) The City is reaping a huge benefit from the tax revenues (more on this subject in Budget).
3) The free market and the marijuana codes in place should determine the outcomes of this experiment.


Although I do find truth in the first two statements and partial truth in the third, I still feel the need to place a cap on the amount of retail stores.  Because marijuana has been illegal for 80+ years, and Edgewater is a City taking a lead on retail marijuana, I thought it prudent to address this experiment with incremental change.  Too much too soon is my sentiment.  Besides, who knows if our marijuana codes won’t allow for another store.  A cap would leave the questions out of the equation.  *****Please let me know how you feel regarding this issue so I may represent your opinions to the best of my ability.


Budget-  We voted on a balanced budget for fiscal year 2015.  Strategically, we are still in the middle of infrastructure development and implementing plans to maintain such developments.  Staff have done a great job with the development and implementation of our basic service needs, and I thank them for the work they have accomplished.  We are slowly increasing our budget to include more cultural amenities, but we are still a few years away before we can really see a profound impact.  We have earmarked all retail and medical marijuana sales for street paving and maintenance.  Retail marijuana is accounting for a little over 10% of the City’s 2015 budget.  We have also seen a rise in utility costs, and I hope we can even out those price increases over the next few years (and actually drop the price in trash pickup!).  In summation, City revenues are in good shape across the board and should continue to do well through 2015.


20th and Depew–  We are still in contract with Trinity Development.  At the moment, we are vetting natural grocery stores and hope we get a deal done this summer.  This has been a long process, and I appreciate your patience with this major project.  We get calls every single day to put up apartments or storage sheds, but we are holding out.  If we can get some really good retail stores at the site, then our cultural amenities’ investment timeline could come sooner rather than later.


Comprehensive Plan/Economic Development-  The City will be holding two community forums regarding the future development plan of the City.  The issues at hand will determine how dense and how high we would like buildings in our town.  This aspect is vital to the future of our growth that I hope you can make one of the meetings.  I will give you a notice when the meetings are set.
Thank you for taking time to read this update.  I will have another one out at the end of the month to inform you of some other county, regional, and state initiatives in the works.  Until then, I thank you for letting me represent you.  It’s been a pleasure doing so, and as always, please feel free to contact me anytime for any reason whatsoever.


Kristian can be reached at kteegardin@edgewaterco.com.

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