COALINGA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Coalinga is seeing big growth in real estate after voters in November approved commercial cannabis cultivation.
Coalinga's mayor says commercial properties are being bought up so quickly that the fees collected are helping relieve the city of its crippling debt.
It has been four months since voters in Coalinga voted to allow medical marijuana cultivation, and Coalinga mayor Nathan Vosburg is thrilled about the economic outcome it is already starting to bring.
"Things are looking good," he said. "We've had a great start, and we expect to continue."
That's because the city sold the Claremont Custody Center to Ocean Grown Extracts -- a company that plans to turn the prison into a cannabis manufacturing facility.
Vosburg says the city was able to pay off more than $3 million worth of debt.
"We sold the prison for $4.1 million, but we had an $800,000 debt at the end of the year that we were going to be in debt for this year, so that takes us to a negative $300,000," he said.
On top of that, commercial real estate is booming as well. And Vosburg says they have gotten hundreds of calls from people wanting to build in these locations.
"We have the industrial lot on the mercantile lot and that has, I believe, 10 lots, and I believe three or four of those are out of Escrow and the rest of those are still in Escrow," he said.
But Vosburg tells Action News the most important thing is that the recent sales are allowing the city to hire more people.
"We did hire three new positions one was a records clerk and one was an actual police officer and one person was for the financing, so we have added those positions and those are being funded by the license fees that the individuals or companies will pay when they come in to sign up for their license to do cannabis," he said.
And Vosburg says once these businesses start operating, even more money will begin trickling in from taxes each business has to pay.
And that money, he says, will go towards city infrastructure, city pay, and public safety.