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8/21/2013 6:00:00 AM
Mohave County's TV district safe, for now
Board of Supervisors keeps service going for another year

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that LeRoy Wissinger used a paid TV service.

KINGMAN - Mohave County residents will continue to enjoy a clear picture for all free TV channels for the next year.

The Board of Supervisors approved a new contract with WECOM on Monday to continue providing service to the county's TV repeater antennas. The one-year, $16,244 per month contract gives the county the option to renew its agreement with WECOM four times.

Last month, District 2 Supervisors Hildy Angius questioned whether the county had the obligation to boost the signals of free TV stations from Phoenix and Las Vegas to county residents and if the tax rate charged to property owners was fair.

"In this day and age when people do have access to cable and satellite and all of that - I do understand that people use it, but again, is that our job?" Angius asked during a July Board meeting. "Actually, I would like to put that out to the voters. Is that something that voters feel is important enough to have on their tax bill? I don't think it's the government's job to provide people with TV signals."

Kingman resident Leroy Wissinger, who uses the over-the-air signals, spoke out in favor of the TV tax Monday.

"I'm glad I have the choice of free or pay TV," he said. "I may be in the minority, but no one can say how large that minority is. If you're going to do away with a tax on the majority for something that is used by the minority, then why not do away with the tax for the libraries or the Western Arizona Vocational District?"

Before making a motion to approve the contract, Angius asked county staff to find out how many people in the county actually use free TV signals and to look for additional companies that can take care of the towers.

According to information provided to the Board, WECOM is the only business in Mohave County that has the technical skills necessary to take care of the communication towers.

The Board also approved:

• The tax rates for the county's 78 fire, school and other secondary taxing districts. The district board sets the tax rates for each district. According to information provided to the Board, the tax rate for Mohave Community College increased from $1.0951 to $1.15 per $100 of assessed value. The rate for the Kingman Unified School District increased from $3.8490 to $4.7875 per $100 of assessed value. The rates for the Golden Valley and the Northern Consolidated fire districts stayed the same at $2.90 per $100 of assessed value for GVFD and $2.88 for NACFD.

• The creation of a Waste Disposal Services Division in the county Development Services Department. The new division will handle permits and inspections for septic tanks and manage the county's landfills.

• Moving the county human resource director, elections director, chief probation officer and court administrator to the same pay range without a pay increase.

• Moving the new procurement director into the same pay range and giving her a $15,000 pay raise.

ICT - Dr. Mohtaseb
Related Stories:
• Should Mohave County's TV district be disbanded?
• Raises for key employees prompt questions about Mohave County budget
• TV district still facing questions in Mohave County

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013
Article comment by: Ronald Martin

I have over 1,200 customers, most on a fixed income that can't afford anything more than over the air stations.
Maybe we should audit companies and see how they are spending what we pay them.
There are at least two companies I can think of in Kingman that can handle the work.
Broadcast stations are also required by law to provide public announcements and the emergency broadcast system. Cable and satellite are not.
My taxes pay for schools and I have no kids.
And why do we need two brand new county buildings when most people can't afford to keep their homes.

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013
Article comment by: Brother Justin

Wecom is the only company in the Tri-state area that I would trust to maintain the Television Improvement District. Also I believe they are the only company that actually bids for the contract.

I remember 20 years ago there was some fly by night operation that had control of the translators and they were inserting local commercials overtop of football games and other shows coming from the Phoenix and Las Vegas stations at totally random times.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: People, People The Real Issue is A $15,0000 Raise

A $15,000 RAISE. Are you people nuts? Who does she know or probably a better question is what does she know?

People, Hildy stop worrying about TV and start worrying about why one person got a raise of ALMOST $300 A WEEK.

Hildy, you put yourself out there as a defender of the public, a watch dog for open and fair government. Please explain this waste. And please don't tell us that by shifting her over to a different structure she automatically is entitled to a bigger raise than most people make as a salary in this town.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Hildy Angius

To Mr. Stein. This has nothing to do with Cable Television or Satellite TV. I have no stake in anything. I asked a question if it is the government's job to provide people with entertainment. Personally, I do not believe it is. However, the Supervisors have decided it is going to stay. What I am trying to do now is to make sure that we are not being charged too much. I want to lower your taxes and still provide the service. Please tell me what is wrong with that.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: joker wilde

Good decision. All for finding a cheaper company to maintain the TV facility, just don't kill it altogether.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Vince Paul

Consider the right of easement. After being given free access to travel by a particular path for years, that access cannot be arbitrarily revoked by the property owner. Access to news, public commentary, emergency alerts, and even entertainment may in some sense be an enduring right. This is NOT a simple issue with a simple answer. The simplest answer is to just spend the money on the repeaters. I would hope that the contract requires a solid effort to quantify the county citizens using the repeaters. Standard cost-benefit analysis needs to be done in order to come up with the most cost effective solution. Making the best use of taxpayer money without adequate information is guesswork at best.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Robinson

There are two problems with the Special Taxing District set up to fund this free TV.

1. The County violates their commitment to taxpayers by overtaxing the citizens by MILLIONS of dollars over the years, and that continues this year, building up huge ‘secret’ reserves. The County swept over $6 Million from the account last year and there is STILL over $2.5 Million in the account, which is more than quadruple the money necessary to pay the TWO contracts, over $435,000 per year.

2. They should analyze the Contracts with WECOM. Mohave County has the only TV district in the State. They have been the only company to have had the two contracts over the 30 years since the law allowed them to set up the district. Are they paying too much?

Solution: The County could still keep “Free TV” in place, and still eliminate the District, saving taxpayer money. Finally, they could find how many households have cable and satellite, and how many don’t! Just check with the various cable & satellite companies to find out that total, compare it with the total number of occupied households in the county and you'll easily arrive with the net figure.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Ok, glad they approved the contract...but what about the actual tax rate for the system? They pulled several million dollars (like 4 or 5 as I remember) that had built up in the fund and used it for other projects. Reduce the rate to whats needed for maintenance and contingencies.

And EXCUSE ME??? The KUSD tax went up by almost 20%!!?? So my tax bill is going to increase about $.90 per $100 assessed value? That's almost $1000 per year!!! Are you kidding me! Tell me that's some sort of mis-print! Tell me my math is wrong. Tell me something!!

Oops...never mind. I forgot out here they reduce the assessed value from the full cash value.

Still...a 20% increase needs some sort of explanation.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Hildy Angius

To Justanobody SR...The Board of Supervisors has not raised taxes for two years now. This is my first year and I have not raised any taxes. In fact, we saved the County quite a lot this year. What I'm trying to do is lower the amount you are paying for the TV District which I believe you are paying too much for.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Richard Kuhl

My TV watching is almost all over the air. I used to have Direct TV but the price got to be too much for the few channels I actually watched. So we have to pay a small tax, big deal. I get taxed for schools but I don't have any kids attending them. There are plenty of ways the county can save money other than dropping our "free" TV.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: harris stein

The dirty little secret about the changeover to digital over-the-air broadcast TV was that the cable and satellite companies tried to keep from the public the information that over-the-air TV broadcasts would still be free. They tried to convince the public that you wouldn't have any TV unless you forked over a hefty chunk of your money to the cable and satellite companies.

Now we have ignorant, uncaring, unthinking, politicians doing the dirty work for the cable and satellite companies. The few dollars I pay every year for the county TV district is well worth it if I get to thumb my nose at the cable and satellite TV companies.

Shame on you, Hildy Angius.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody SR

tax, tax, tax, don't you supervisors stop?
prior to this increase 64% of my tax bill was for schools,
enough is enough, when are you going to stop?
I'm being taxed into poverty!!!!!!!!

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