Local Government

Adams County Board approves tax on adult-use cannabis sales

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 11, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The Adams County Board agreed Tuesday to impose a retailers' occupation tax on all future sales of adult-use marijuana in Adams County.

The tax, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will allow the county to charge a 3.75% tax on adult-use cannabis sales from any dispensary located in an unincorporated area of the county. If the dispensary is inside the city limits of a home-rule city, such as Quincy, the county can impose a 3% tax on top of the 3% tax charged by the city.

Ryan Niekamp, vice chairman of the County Board, said a new state law legalizing sales of recreational marijuana gives counties the right to impose the tax, but not to regulate sales in unincorporated areas where zoning does not exist.

"This is purely to tax adult use cannabis in the county," Niekamp said.

"If we could vote on whether or not to allow recreational use of cannabis in Adams County, I would be a ‘no' vote. But purely from a tax aspect, it's going to happen here. So we should tax it."

Niekamp said county officials aren't sure how much revenue the new tax might generate for the county, because the amount will depend on how many businesses open and how much marijuana they sell.

"It will be several years down the road until we actually see significant revenues -- whatever they might be," he said. "It won't be overnight."

In other action, the board heard an update on the construction of the new Adams County Jail. Les Post, a member of the Jail Subcommittee, said the construction is progressing at a steady pace, and the contractor issued an estimated completion date of Nov. 29.

The board on Tuesday formalized its decision to issue an additional $4 million in general obligation bonds to provide money needed to finance the jail construction. This brings the county's total bonding obligation to $29 million for the project. The city of Quincy also is kicking in $4 million to help pay for a new police department in the building.

The board passed a resolution supporting a proposal to extend Quincy's Central Business District-West tax increment financing (TIF) redevelopment project by another 12 years.

The TIF was slated to expire in December 2021, but it will now expire in 2033 if all public taxing entities affected by the incentive agree to extend the program.

Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy's director of planning and development, attended Tuesday's meeting to urge board members to encourage local residents to take part in the 2020 federal census.

"We need every person to be counted," said Bevelheimer, who serves on a local Complete Count Committee.

He urged County Board members to "educate the public when you can" about the importance of making sure they take part in the census, because the results will determine how much federal money local taxing districts will receive based on population numbers.

"The financial impact of the census is huge," Bevelheimer said, noting how Illinois received $34 billion from 55 federal programs in the 2016 fiscal year based on the 2010 census. For every 1 percent of the population that doesn't get counted, he said, Illinois would lose $122 million, and city and county taxing entities would lose a proportional amount as well.

The board also:

Appointed Kent Duesterhaus to a three-year term on the Indian Grave Drainage District; Benjamin R. Hammond to the remainder of a three-year term on the South Quincy Drainage District; and Daniel Clair to an unexpired three-year term on the Loraine Fire Protection District.

Approved tax sale resolutions for six mobile homes and 12 other properties.

Authorized the Friends of Unit 4 to conduct a Fall Festival fireworks display Sept. 14 at the Adams County Fairgrounds and authorized Rita and Gary Speckhart to conduct a fireworks display Sept. 28 at Point D'Vine LLC as part of a wedding reception.