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From cannabis to sales taxes, here are the ballot measures facing North County voters

A "vote here" sign marks a polling place in San Luis Obispo, California.
A "vote here" sign marks a polling place in San Luis Obispo, California. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

When North County voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, they’ll cast ballots for a series of local measures in Paso Robles and Atascadero.

Residents in both cities will consider cannabis business taxes. Neither Paso Robles nor Atascadero currently allows dispensaries, and city officials want to be able to collect money before permitting such businesses.

A sales tax to fund road repairs will also go before Paso Robles voters, as will a measure to extend the mayor’s term in office in Atascadero.

Here’s what you need to know before you fill out your ballot.

Atascadero

Measure J-18: Four-year mayoral term

Just six years after Atascadero voters cast their ballots for the city’s first elected mayor, residents will decide whether to extend the length of the mayoral term.

Under this measure, mayors would have four years in office, instead of the current two-year term.

Measure E-18: Cannabis business tax

Unlike officials in Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo, Atascadero leaders have been hesitant to permit cannabis businesses. Officials said they wanted voters to approved a business tax before they would seriously consider changing current regulations, according to Tribune coverage from 2017.

This measure would allow the city to charge cannabis business owners $10 per canopy square foot for cultivation, 10 percent of gross receipts for retail businesses and 6 percent of gross receipts for all other businesses.

The tax would generate up to $500,000, which would go toward general revenue purposes such as police, fire and parks, according to the ballot measure.

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Paso Robles

Measure H-18: Appointed city clerk

This measure would change how the city clerk is selected.

Voters currently elect the clerk, If they approve the measure, the City Council would appoint someone to the office or allow the city manager to do so.

Measure I-18: Cannabis business tax

Similar to leaders in Atascadero, Paso Robles officials have been slow to allow cannabis businesses to operate in the city.

This measure would tax cannabis businesses, should city leaders decide to permit them.

The city would be allowed to collect up to $20 per square foot for cultivation and processing, up to 10 percent of gross receipts for transportation, up to 15 percent of gross receipts for manufacturing, testing and distribution and up to 10 percent of gross receipts for dispensaries.

The tax would generate about $15,000 annually for unrestricted general purposes, according to the measure.

Measure K-18: Special sales tax for road repairs

Paso Robles leaders are in the midst of trying to repair the city’s crumbling roads. Although the city passed a sales tax measure in 2012, officials say they need another $25 million per year for another 10 years to achieve quality pavement.

This measure would add another sales tax to help pay for road repairs and emergency service needs, according to a Tribune story published in July. It would provide approximately $4,750,000 annually for six years, according to the measure.

Measure N-18: Sales tax advisory

This measure would permit officials to use funds from the sales tax increase primarily for repairing and maintaining Paso Robles’ streets and sidewalks.

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong talks about the process of counting ballots on June 6, 2018, the day after the California Primary. Thousands of ballots remain after Election Day in SLO County.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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