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3/7/2013 5:59:00 AM
Kingman city tax proposals to get hearing

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The prolonged economic downturn has the City Council scrambling to find new revenue sources while mitigating the impact to residents.

To that end, Mayor John Salem and council members on Tuesday voted 5-1 to hold a public hearing April 2 to discuss a number of potential ordinances.

They are: Decrease the tax rate on bars and restaurants by 1 percent; increase the tax rate on all categories by either one-half or .65 percent; and decrease the water rate by $2 a month.

A public hearing regarding another potential ordinance to decrease the sewer rate by $2 a month was postponed until fall.

According to the city, it would lose roughly $600,000 annually if it cut the bar and restaurant tax by 1 percent; $432,000 annually by cutting the water base rate and $216,000 annually if the sewer rate was reduced.

On the other hand, a half-percent increase in sales tax would yield an additional $2.25 million to the city and the .65 percent increase would net $3.36 million.

"A lot of brainstorming went into this," said Salem, adding that the Chamber of Commerce played "a big role" in the talks and that city staff adopted a portion of the organization's proposal.

"I think it's something that could be done," he said.

Councilman Richard Anderson, who cast the lone nay vote, said the numerous discussions focused on one issue: "How can we get money into the city that will have the least amount of impact on residents? That's what we're trying to do."

Revenue that isn't there anymore - due in part to diverted or diminished highway user funds, vehicle license taxes and state shared sales taxes has hit the city hard, making it difficult for the city to fund capital improvement projects.

The police and fire departments require a number of improvements, many mandated by the state and federal government. Other projects on the city's to do list are several street enhancements, expansion of the sewer system and the railroad quiet zone planned for downtown.

"The realization of being able to try to fund these is not within our capability with the current budget," said Anderson.

"This is not a money grab," he said a few moments later. "These are projects we believe will stimulate the quality of life in Kingman."

If the ordinances pass, Anderson said the annual financial impact to Kingman's 28,000 residents would average about $100 for an individual taxpayer and about $250 for a family.

Councilwoman Erin Cochran said her one concern regarded the proposed decrease in the sewer rate.

"We are only two months into the sewer rate increase," she said. "I don't think we have enough information to do that. I don't want to say let's reduce it by $2 and then in October say we were just kidding."

The majority of the City Council agreed with her.

The potential reduction in the sewer rate will be revisited in the final quarter of the calendar year.

If approved at the public hearing, the changes go into effect July 1, the start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Councilwoman Carole Young was absent.

ICT - Hummingbead of Kingman
Related Stories:
• Move would give Kingman county's highest sales tax
• Tax cuts - and increases - considered by Kingman

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 11, 2013
Article comment by: Josie Garland

No matter what the increase or decrease in budgets. there seems to be 1 minor problem. Utility bills are making City of Kingman an expensive place to live. I have over 10 friends who have moved to county with septic or private sewer that are paying a lot less and have sold their homes or lost them just to get out of City. Less city dwellers less income to City coffers no matter how you slice it!

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013
Article comment by: City using Bait and Switch Tactics In Money Grab

Is the mention of a monthly $2.00 reduction in my sewer bill supposed to make the fact that your raising my taxes by an ‘average’ of $100 to ‘about’ $250 a year more tolerable? What hogwash! Don’t tell us it’s not a ‘money grab’. It sure the heck IS!
It’s good Cochran isn’t ‘concerned’ about the impact yet more increases in taxes will be to the citizens she is supposed to be working for. I wouldn’t want her to lose any sleep over THAT! What gall this City Council has to assume that THEY have the right to inflict more hardship on the citizens of this town in order to ‘enhance’ several streets, worry about the railroad noise that has always been there, throw good money after bad to keep the money sucking golf course running and SEWER EXPANSION’? We just got walloped in the wallet for sewer improvements, what else NEEDS to be done? And I mean NEED. We can’t afford ANY MORE tax increases. When will City understand that?
Why haven’t they sold or closed that useless golf course the citizens are being forced to pay for? Why is THAT never brought to a vote? I will never understand how it’s legal for the City to FORCE citizens to pay for something that MOST of us don’t use! I would love to ‘enhance’ my home, but I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY AND NEITHER DO YOU! Quit looking for things to spend MY money on!
And why wasn’t Ms. Young in attendance at this meeting? Since the meeting’s agenda had such far reaching potential consequences to the citizens of Kingman, if she couldn’t be there for a valid reason, why wasn’t it postponed until ALL of the council members could be in attendance to vote?

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013
Article comment by: Just Saying

How can you possibly move forward on any financial decision without the input from the brain trust of C. Young? Isn't she Miss Business of Kingman? I sure she would tell you that increases of any kind would drive away businesses. Aren't you people watching what is playing out on a national stage? Higher costs drive companies oversees, in this case other areas of the county, assuming they stay here. No, I'm sure she would provide the guidance we've all come to know. She does like those fast food places. Once the Kingman bypass is completed you better have some anchor companies inplace, because no body will be stopping in Kingman or wanting to. Suggestion- don't do anything that will drive away people or business.

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013
Article comment by: julies mom julies mom

The quiet zone in downtown Kingman is a great way to get more people back down there. Downtown Kingman is getting some great new restaurants and nightlife. An example, Kingman is finally getting it's own nanobrewery. A young man from Kingman is remodeling a downtown building to bring in fine local brewed will be called Black Bridge Brewery. He will be located next to and across the street from other fine establishments. In order to make this an attractive and enticing addition to the downtown the train needs to stop using it's horn every 3ft in the downtown area. Rumor is... there is a private person willing to put up some of the money in regards to the quiet zone. If that is the case, many more people will come to the best nightlife area in town and those people will put more money in the coffers of the city by paying bar and restaurant taxes. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013
Article comment by: Buy Elsewhere

Living outside of Kingman, I try to not shop there now. I buy most things online where there is no sales tax and buy whatever I can't buy online in the county. The only thing I buy in Kingman is groceries which are not taxed. All the city fathers of Kingman do is give us more and more reason not to visit. You save quite a bit when you buy a set of tires in GV vs Kingman. A car dealer should think of moving to the county, customers would flock there to save 2%.

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Just Observing

Boy...I don't know where you got your info....but it is completely incorrect.

The State tax that sunsets June 30 is 1%. The cities can't "keep" any of it, because it will no longer be there. Cities CAN increase or decrease their own tax rate...which is what they are considering. They may decide to raise it from 2 to 2 1/2%

No matter how you look at's an increase, though your overall sales tax will indeed go down.

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Republicans hate tax increases unless of course they hit the worker the hardest. That seems to be acceptable. And if you do some checking you'll find out all of our elected officials are Republicans. Democrats I'm afraid aren't much better. Point is the little guy always gets the bill. In spite of that they are not the ones crying about it.
Nobody is calling for a reduction in the bar and resturant tax if anything it should be raised as much of the money would come from people passing through. These taxes are necessary only because a group of people downtown seem to have unlimited time to come up with projects that nobody really wants. Just to noisy down by the rail lets tax everybody in town. We spend too much on things we don't need. Quit coming up with ideas that cost us money and nobody wants. except your rich friends .

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: Just Observing

This article does not cover the entire story as I have been keeping track of this issue and yes it was even posted in a prior article by the miner. No the city is actually not increasing the sales tax. The state mandated tax increase of two percent from prior years is going away. Cities are able to keep all, none or part of the sales tax after the states portion ends. so in reality the city is keeping the half percent and the other one and half percent is going. YAY ! Lower taxes after all.

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: concerned citizen

"Anybody ever wonder how Wal Mart became the largest retailer in the world?"
Yes, I know how. They are a retailer with products and merchandise that they can pick from any number of suppliers, put excessive pressure on them, and make them lower their costs to Wal Mart's level.
They can locate anywhere they wish, or anywhere they don't want to be. They can set their own hours, pay essentially what they want to, and they can close any store that is not up to their standards. They can also serve or not serve any customer as they wish.

What city can do that?

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: Let's Do Lunch and Toast Our Good Fortune

Looks like the well heeled in town raised enough stink over the city restaurant and bar tax hike to get a tax break. A more than obliging council will likely shift the burden over onto the poor and fixed income retired folks with a general sales tax hike that hits everyone instead of just the fat cats that can afford to eat out regularly.

But, the push is on again to build the I-40 detours (interchanges) right through the city's cash drawer and they first have to skin the local taxpayers to get enough hide to pave the off-ramps.

Appears to be one of those "Done Deals" that are so quietly hand-crafted in the dungeons of the powerhouse and city hall.

Ballot issue, you ask? -- you have to be kidding -- this is Kingman -- city fathers (and mothers) know what's best for you.

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: Thai Mai Shu

Anybody ever wonder how Wal Mart became the largest retailer in the world? They employ well over 1 million people worldwide and they are expanding in the poor economy.

They do it by being frugal and offering up LOW prices, not by RAISING retail costs to their customer base.

Maybe the money grabbers that run our city should have a sit down with a few corporate executives and have a lesson in economics.

LOWER the tax rate and you will have those people from the surrounding communities coming to Kingman instead of the massive exodus of shoppers from Kingman heading off to Vegas, Laughlin, Havasu etc. etc.

The proposal on the table will only stifle the local economy from a local residents point of view. $250 is a lot of money in this town. The tourist doesn't really care what the tax rate is since they will just skip shopping here the next time they drive through town. Locals will leave to shop somewhere else.

Our council is thinking inside the typical government mindset of raise the taxes box instead of outside the potential growth box.

Ans as I stated in my last comment. Keep your lousy $2.00 and leave the tax rate alone or lower it.

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