Property tax vote supported by chamber board

The Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has backed the primary property tax on May 20 the city ballot.

"We need capital improvements that will keep Kingman a growing and safe community," chamber president and chief executive Beverly Liles said.

The board believes the property tax will give Kingman the ability to grow and that jobs and business will increase with growth, board member Tom Clark said.

A steady source of income from the property tax would pay for the essential infrastructure, he added.

The Kingman City Council has designated the property tax revenue for capital projects and listed five street improvements as priorities.

Railroad crossings or underpasses at Airway and Louise avenues and on Topeka Street downtown would improve access east of the tracks and improve safety, Mayor Les Byram said.

Councilman Frank McVey said the railroad crossings would allow the fire trucks and police cars to answer calls much more quickly.

Trains can delay traffic at Louise Avenue and Topeka Street and there is no access behind the Kmart shopping center without going to the Louise Avenue crossing more than a mile to the south.

Much of Kingman's growth has been projected to occur east of the railroad.

In the northern part of Kingman, widening Bank Street and Gordon Drive are two other priorities, deemed essential to provide alternatives to the increasing use of Stockton Hill Road.

Kingman Financial Director Coral Loyd said financing the capital improvements with a primary property tax rather than a bond paid by a secondary property tax would save the city 30 percent on projects.

"The Airway Avenue project cost $3.8 million financed by bonds," Loyd said.

"A primary property would have saved the city $1,140,000 in interest and finance charges."

The council has set up a separate accounting fund for the primary property tax revenue if voters approve the tax.

The money would pay for the projects as they are built and the city would not incur debt.

The city has a state-mandated debt limit and cannot proceed with another street project until the Airway Avenue bonds are paid off.

Funding the five priority projects with bonded debt from a secondary property tax would be subject to debt limitations and stretch out construction over a long period of years.

The council has voted to levy $1.5 million per year if the voters approve the primary property tax.

That is $1 per $100 of limited assessed value or about $75 for a house that would sell for $100,000 in today's market Loyd said.

The amount shown on tax bills for the Mohave Community College is just a few dollars less than the city property tax would be.

Chamber board member Sue Ferry said Kingman needs the street projects to continue growth and avoid more traffic problems.

"Road improvements will not happen without the money to pay for them," Ferry said.

"Someone has to pay."

Vice Mayor Phil Moon said, "This is a decision that voters in Kingman will make.

We would be shirking our duty if we did not refer this to them for a decision."

Early voting continues at 310 Fourth St.

in city hall at the city clerk's office.

Call 753-8114 for information.