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11/23/2012 6:01:00 AM
$12 hike in Kingman sewer fees now official
AHRON SHERMAN/MinerCoral Loyd, the city’s finance director speaks to Council Tuesday about the 25 percent sewer rate increase for Jan. 1.

Coral Loyd, the city’s finance director speaks to Council Tuesday about the 25 percent sewer rate increase for Jan. 1.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - It's official. Your sewer rates are going up by approximately 25 percent on Jan. 1.

City Council voted 5-1 to approve the increase Tuesday. Councilman Richard Anderson kept his promise and cast the lone "nay" vote. Both Councilwoman Erin Cochran and City Manager Jack Kramer did not attend the meeting.

The 25 percent translates to about $12 a month for the average residential customer, but it's important to note that what each person pays on his or her individual bill is tied to use.

Anderson continued to speak out against the increase as he has for the last couple of months. He argued that the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority waived nearly $700,000 of the 2012 principle payment for the Downtown Wastewater Treatment Plant and city staff decided what to do with the money without bringing it before Council.

"The rate increase could have been 8.125 percent, but the city staff made the decision for the Council," he wrote in an email to the Miner. "Thank you (City Manager) Jack (Kramer) and (Finance Director) Coral (Loyd) for making the decision to raise the rates 25 percent. The city took the authority away from the Council by using money that should have been credited back to the customer."

Loyd said his argument is simply not true.

No payments have been waived, she said. The only thing WIFA waived in 2012 was the pledged revenue test, which says the city must raise revenue sufficient to cover 120 percent of the annual loan payments, she added. It was waived because rates hadn't been raised enough at that point to cover the covenant.

"What he is saying is completely false," she said.

In fact, the city is not scheduled to make its first loan payment for the downtown plant until July.

Several community members spoke out against the increase during the public hearing. A couple of them complained about their individual bills and one asked the Council to come up with a new idea.

Dean Wolslagel stood in front of Council and recommended it delay the vote until all Council members and the city manager are present and all the information Anderson has requested is made available. He also argued that conducting the meetings during the holidays dissuades people from showing up and gives the impression Council is rushing the decision.

Councilwoman Janet Watson said the process has not been hasty whatsoever. This goes back several years and the discussion about the 2013 increase has been going on for quite some time, she said.

"We've explored every other way," she said of the early November meeting dedicated to finding a rate-increase alternative. "We have a contract with the (entity) that loaned us the $55 million. This (the rate increase) is part of the contract."

Anderson continued to hammer the $700,000argument and reminded city staff to remember whose pockets the city is dipping into.

Watson took exception to Anderson's comments. It's all been answered, she said.

"He's a Council member," she said. "He's not the financial director for the city."

Councilman Larry Carver agreed. Every piece of information he's requested regarding the loans and the rate increases has been 100 percent accurate, he said. There's always a little bit of guesswork and variability with these types of situations, he added.

This is the last scheduled rate increase, and marks the fifth time in five years that the rates have been raised. Starting in 2009, the increases were 50 percent, 49 percent and three straight years of 25 percent increases.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: G Ma

All 5 of you can take your Rate Hike and SHOVE IT !!!!

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

Was there any doubt in my mind that the City Council would increase the rates? "NO" So I guess I will have to give up the garbage pickup to lower my bill!!

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: pu pupuhi

more money in the kitty...might mean a pay raise for the coming year.

Thank You, counsel.. For making a hole in my pocket Bigger.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Average Kingmanite

So you mean the sewer rates increased 174% in only 5 years?

When the city was ordered by the state to build a new sewer treatment plant, why didn't our fabulous leaders begin to plan its financing? Also what happened to any contingency fund? I would think such a fund would over 5 years increase to a point where it could certainly help offset these costs? I am also still a bit confused as to why these costs exploded to a point where rates are increased an average of 35% a year? And finally expansion of the sewer system would have lessed the burden on the sewer customers (around 9,000 I think). Insane to think 9,000 customers could pay the multi-million dollar loan.

We now want to know when the sewer system will be expanded. We now want to see a simple list published in the Miner of the council members, city managers, water department heads and the names of all those that allowed this situation to exist.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Average Kingmanite

One must ask if this whole process has gone on for years, why has there not be more creative solutions?

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Average Kingmanite

I'm more inclined to believe Richard Anderson knows what he is talking about knowing of his strong background in finance. I'm still not sure why the city finds itself in such a bind.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Harris

Where was the city manager?

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012

#1. Never trust a city council member's statement or city finance director when the announce "this will be the last rate increase" which is akin to hearing "the check is in the mail".
#2. The vast majority of the City Of Kingman residents expect the City Council and City Of Kingman staff to provide "SOLUTIONS" to issues that ARE and WERE NOT the responsibility of the city residents.
#3. I wonder HOW MANY of the Council Members and Senior City Of Kingman staff will assist in bearing this rate increase.
The City Council and City Of Kingman Senior Management perpetuate this "comedy of errors" that runs amock and PLEASE .... call the village as we found it's cast of idiots.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: az mac

That is $12 of food for many who are on fixed incomes they will not be able to buy. Food prices will continue to rise. Our dollar continues to lose value which makes all things more expensive. Yet cities, counties, state and federal continue to raise taxes and fees. I know many who live on $700 to $800 a month. Many elderly can not even afford to heat their home in the winter. As long as the federal reserve is in charge of our economy things will continue to get worse. Obama will renew their charter next year as that is who he works for.

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