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2/22/2013 6:01:00 AM
Tax cuts - and increases - considered by Kingman
Reductions could help moribund economy

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The City Council on Thursday proposed making modest reductions in water and sewer rates and eliminating 1 percent of the 2 percent bar and restaurant tax when members approve a final budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 in three months.

To offset the revenue lost through those reductions, the Council could decide to increase the city's overall sales tax rate to 2.5 percent, up from 2 percent. Residents won't notice the bump since a one-cent state sales tax sunsets June 30.

"I'm optimistic," said Mayor John Salem, despite a budget forecast that is less than favorable.

One key reason for his outlook is a proposal in the Legislature to reduce construction taxes.

"The key economic indicator in the West is housing starts," Salem said. If lawmakers reduce construction taxes, Salem and others believe the economy could get a much-needed shot in the arm.

If the city decides to reduce the water and sewer bills people pay each month by $2 each and eliminate half of the bar and restaurant sales tax, roughly $1.2 million in revenue would be lost.

However, by retaining half of the state sales tax that is set to sunset, said Finance Director Coral Loyd, $2.2 million in revenue would be realized, leaving a net surplus of roughly $1 million.

Both Loyd and Salem emphasized these ideas are merely proposals.

There are six capital improvement projects the city might focus on, to one degree or another, in 2014.

They are the Kingman Crossing interchange, the Rancho Santa Fe water line project, the railroad quiet zone project, the Airway Avenue and Walgreens street project, the Gordon Drive street project and the Stockton Hill Road corridor study.

The City Council and key staff will meet several more times before the final budget and capital improvement plan is adopted.

On Wednesday department heads submit their operating budgets to the Finance Department, which will submit their requests to the city manager on March 14.

Work sessions will be held between March 19-21 between staff and the manager to discuss their operating budgets overview.

On April 12, the City Council will receive a preliminary budget and capital improvement plan and will hold its own work session March 19.

A public hearing will be held May 21, at which time the City Council could adopt its final budget and capital improvement plan.

The 2013-2014 fiscal year begins July 1.

As reported in Wednesday's edition, the city's budget outlook for 2014 is bleak. Loyd advised the City Council that taxes will have to be raised or services cut in order to maintain a balanced budget as the coffers continue to shrink.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Vote Them out

Do they really understand the burden placed on us low income? houses cars furniture we cant buy anyway incidentals other than groceries on and on. Come on give me a break do you think the decrease in food tax is going to help those who cant aford to eat out? If you can reduce the sewer tax then do it NOW. Why did you raise it so much in the first place. Mr Anderson should have been listend to. He will get mayor if he doesn't raise these taxes. Sell the golf course and dont do the quiet zone.
anyone who raises taxes should not b e voted back in office. this time we won't forget how the voting was done.

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Nobody like taxes, I think everyone would agree with that statment. Problem is nobody wants to cut their favorite projects. So here is a crazy idea why don't we put it up to the voters and ask them to vote on some of these projects. Does everybody in the city want the Kingman Crossing or is it just the people who live in that area ? Or how about the quiet zone how many in the city do you think would vote to spend taxpayer money for that. How many would vote for another road study when they already know that Stockton hill road is already too busy. Almost all of our elected officials are Republicans who hate tax increases unless of course the people paying the taxes are the little people who work for a living. Then it is acceptable. How about letting the people decide where to spend our money for a change. Now that is Change I can believe in.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: stuart vARON

i dont live in the city, i live in the county...i now pay $50 dollars a month for sewer.i shop hear in Kingman..the extra tax does not bother me, but the high sewer cost does..Taxing us county people for are sewer and not paying the cost by all sounds ok...but, how about requiring sewer hookups for all people replacing septic tanks and developers paying there to hookup when they build these new bad we cant vote in the city..we would get some new blood in the council..also sell that golf course paid for by taxpayers and put the cash in the general fund!!!

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Sale Off the Golf Course

Very simple - is the golf course a revenue source - NO. Is the golf course a cost center? YES Raise the rates and/or slash the operating costs to make it a revenue center. Seeing that that hasn't happened since we last complained about the golf course, SELL IT.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: It's Those Darn Tax and Spend Republicans

Unfortunately we live in a time when medical costs are out of control - see the latest Time magazine for the reasons. And unfortunately we all have to deal with them - well, unless you work for the government. I do get tired of hearing the poor city employees haven't gotten a raise for --- years. And it's usually said from a councilman. There are fewer and fewer employees offering medical with rates to employees as the city does. Not to mention dental.

Complete compensation packages must be reevaluated to bring them in line with local private employers. Of course as long as council gets their "recommendations" from the very people who would be negatively impacted, that will never happen. Get off you butts council, gather the stats on private local compensation packages and compare them to what the city is paying.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: City Living Vs County Living

Moved Out...wait until you have to replace your aging septic tank. And ohhh the smell.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: American Patriot

PRIVATIZE the golf course, stop "ivesting" tax dollars into land projects, etc (TO NAME A FEW) and S-A-V-E! Cryin out loud!!! This is why people HATE government! They become disenfranchised, loose interest and the result is AWOL at the polls, which leaves us with the meat-heads voting that keep putting the wrong people in power. What good are furhlow's and other extreme measures like this going to do in the long run!? People are hurting all over, not just in Kingman. I don't want smart government because it's an OXYIMORON! I want accoutable government that is limited in scope and adhears to the will of the people and THEIR bennefit. We want good jobs here, wealthy business people who can feel free to invest here without unfair taxation or unrealsonable fees, hoops and other crap that stiffles business. We want folks to move here so we can grow and in doing so, we want a safe community governed by OUR laws, not by the lawless and criminal element. Get real or get OUT!!

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: Budget consideration????

Maybe they should stop being so generous in their benefits for employees. Each employee regardless of status - hourly or salaried pays $20.00 per month into a medical claim fund. This $20.00 is their whole monthly obligation if enrolled as a single person the actual cost of the insurance to the tax payer - the City contributes 100% of Employee Group Health Insurance for the employee @ $558.69 monthly. The City contributes 75% to Employee Dependent Group Health Insurance for the regular (hourly) employee @ $615.34 monthly. For the exempt (salaried) employee 100% of dependent premium @ $802.50 monthly. They also provide Retiree Health Insurance Coverage (the rates for that are not listed). Translation the tax payers pay 100% of the single employee's premiums, 75% of the hourly employee's dependent premiums and 100% of the salaried employee's dependent premiums. So a salaried employee does not pay more than $20.00 per month for medical/dental/vision/life insurance for themselves or their family. So the highest paid in the City's organization are paying the least for their services and they get to make the decision about what everyone else pays. Sounds like Washington DC standards & practices. Before you all think this is some big secret, I found it on the city website under Human Resources and then Benefits Summary not sure how current it is, but it is there for the interested. They have no problem with US paying more - might be time for their gravy train to derail.

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Article comment by: Moved Out of the City

It has been very typical for the City of Kingman to solve their budget issues on the backs of the public. During this economy, that is shameful!

The water/sewer fiasco is what pushed us to move out of the city limits. Thank God we no longer have to worry about how much our bill is going to be.

City Council and Mayor: Do you really think it's OK to bump up sales tax just because the1% from the state will sunset? It's not. It is not solving your own problems. How about implementing furloughs for your employees if it is that bad? In my opinion it's better to inconvenience a few that inconvenience the masses. Paying salaries, taxes, and benefits is a huge strain on the budget. Why not make some concerted efforts you've tried to SOMETHING besides skin the backs of your constituents??

The only way around this is to change your vote at the polls. Unfortunately I can't do that anymore, but at least I've gotten rid of my frustration moving out of the City limits.

And I will continue to eat out of town just to prove a point. We all still have a vote when we choose where to buy our household goods and entertainment.

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Article comment by: Patriot WES

As always, Mayor Salem has no idea of what leadership is! Let's get rid of this and add that.
Because some tax is sunseting, lets grab that before somebody else does. What brilliance! guess the poeple of Kingman elected him, so until they get involved in politics, they will have to live with him and his decisions.

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Article comment by: A Revenue Source

Sell the golf course!
Sell it at it's market value, apply ALL the proceeds to the cost of our new/updated sewer system, and lower the water/sewer fees to all local residents!

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

I'll repeat to you all what you tell us in rural areas. You chose to live in the city.. deal with it.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: patty hertz

I recall Salem stating if he were re-elected he would eliminate the additioinal 2% bar and restaurant tax. Was that just another of his empty promises?

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

No surprise here, cut taxes to the well off businesses and tax the average citizens, guess them folks driving around in them 20 plus year old autos with them republican stickers on their autos can enjoy how it is to have their party stick it to them while they cut the taxes to their friends and true constituients, the well off!

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Just A Tax Payer

Gee what a surprize a tax hike looms again,and Salem wonders why income is down, all the smart ones are now going out of town to buy the big ticket things and we save a bunch of OUR MONEY . Maybe you clowns should CUT SPENDING !! And stop selling property at a LOSS !!!

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

Everyone I know has to live within there budget, why are cities and counties and states different?
Revenue's are NOT on the increase, yet these entities feel they can spend freely, and increase taxes & fees at will!
why didn't they save some of that "excess" money back "when".
I'm not against progress, but when I do home improvements, it's when I can afford them, not because I want them!
We continue to vote in the same style of people every time, ( the ones who want to spend spend spend)

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Kris F

I think you should cut out the railroad quiet zone project, due to the simple fact that the railroad was there long before the people complaining about it. They should have known the noise level prior to moving in. Why should we, the people fork out more money we do not have just to appease the few complaining.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: The Big Lie

"Residents won't notice the bump since a one-cent state sales tax sunsets June 30."

I doubt this reporter pays very much in state and federal income taxes or property taxes. Those of us who do notice EVERY increase in taxes and slight-of-hand tax increases. This proposed increase in sales taxes is an INCREASE!!!

The smart voters of Arizona voted OUT that 1 percent state tax and now we are expect to be happy to see that gain cut in half? And don't be fooled, there is no talk of this tax being temporary. And when that 1 million surplus is reached, will the tax be repealed? Don't count on it. There is never enough money for government.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Stockton Hill and Sycamore

Something needs to be done at the intersection of Stockton Hill Rd and Sycamore Ave. Why can't a short passage to Ross, Staples, etc be made? When shopping at Walmart, then you want to go to Ross, or any of the stores in that area, you must get on Stockton Hill and turn again. Also a short cut to Smiths from Walmart parking lot would also help with the traffic on Stockton Hill Rd.

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