Marijuana tax creates new revenue for Bend

Police and streets expected to split funds

Green kush creating money for city of Bend

BEND, Ore. - The city of Bend expects to receive $500,000 a year in revenue from the 3 percent marijuana sales tax voters passed in November. That's higher than the $345,000 the city estimated last year.

This good news is coming at a time when overall city revenue was not as high this year as officials predicted.

"The tax revenues this year didn't increase at the pace that was predicted, so we have fewer revenues to work with, and so we're doing less with more," Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell said Wednesday.

The marijuana tax money would be split and go to the police and streets operation budget.

Police Chief Jim Porter told NewsChannel 21 by email that the council initially agreed his department would get $300,000. Those funds would be used to hire two new community service officers to handle low-priority calls, freeing up officers to respond to higher-priority calls and focus on community outreach.

Russell said the city would need to have $5 million to $6 million a year to keep the roads at their current level.

The city has estimated it has an $80 million backlog of street needs. 

Streets and Operation Director David Abbas said the money from the marijuana tax could help with the cost of hiring contractors for snow removal and street repairs.

Russell said the council is in early budget talks and the board is looking at every source of revenue to help with street upgrades.

The city council was holding a second reading and vote Tuesday night on an ordinance establishing interest and penalties for cannabis shops who fail to pay their taxes on time. 

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