Kingman voters reject property tax by 2-1 margin

Kingman voters Tuesday rejected a primary property tax by a two to one margin.

"The people have spoken," Mayor Les Byram said.

"They are not willing to pay a property tax for the street projects proposed."

The property tax was defeated soundly in each of six voting precincts.

Fewer than 20 percent of the 10,729 active voters cast ballots, defeating the tax 1,342-738.

Byram expressed some surprise that the area east of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway did not support the measure.

The area would have benefited from underpasses at Airway and Louise avenues.

The tax levy would have been $1 per $100 assessed value to raise $1.5 million per year for capital projects.

Other priority projects were a railroad underpass at Topeka Street downtown, the widening of Bank Street from Airway Avenue to Gordon Drive and purchase of right-of-way on Gordon Drive.

Only 746 of 3,041 active voters east of the railroad turned out and defeated the tax proposal 447-268.

"This was the right time to give the citizens the opportunity to make the decision," Byram said.

"The council will analyze the results and move on with whatever options the city has."

The low voter turnout disappointed City Manager Roger Swenson.

"I would rather see the tax defeated with a 90 percent voter turnout than pass with a 10 percent turnout," he said.

"This vote was the worst case because it was a defeat with so few voting."

Byram said the people of Kingman have not paid a primary property tax since 1982 when the City Council allowed the tax to expire.

The major source of local revenue for the city general fund is the 2 percent local sales tax.

"That passed by one vote," Byram said.

"We heard a lot of people say they should have voted."

The council will certify the vote in June.

City officials will have a budget meeting May 29.

Few changes for fiscal 2004 planning are expected as a result of the property tax defeat because the property tax revenue would have gone into a separate fund for capital projects.

Results by District:

1, 70 yes, 93 no, Downtown;

2, 82 yes, 148 no, Fairgrounds and Broadway;

3, 268 yes, 447 no, East of Railroad tracks;

4, 168 yes, 355 no, North of I-40;

5, 130 yes, 210 no, Hilltop and Country Club; and

6, 20 yes, 89 no, Camelback;

Totals: 738 yes and 1,342 no