County block-grant priorities set

Mayoral candidates were asked when residents could expect to see an Airway Avenue underpass at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

"In three years, but I would build the Louise Avenue under or overpass first," Frank Drew McVey said.

"It is quicker and there is less that has to be done,"

Monica Gates gave no timeline but said Airway Avenue should be completed soon if a traffic study indicates it would improve traffic flow in the city from east of the tracks.

"We will have to find other means of financing Airway Avenue, Louise crossing and Topeka downtown after the voters defeated the property tax," the incumbent Mayor Les Byram said.

There is a railroad grade crossing at Louise Avenue, but Airway Avenue north of Interstate 40 and Topeka Street downtown each stop at the railroad.

Council candidates Dave French, Herberta Schroeder, Richard Glancy, Tom Spears, Michael Schoeff, Matt Hreha and Tom Carter were asked about the city council's role in promoting Kingman tourism, managing growth, the role of business in the city, getting developers to give more park land to the city and keeping Kingman issues represented at the state Legislature.

Spear said he has worked to bring tourism to Kingman as a motel operator and sees a need for more marketing with Route 66 as the hook that brings tourists here.

French said growth cannot be stopped but can be managed.

He said he supports industrial and higher wages for new jobs that in turn would drive retail sales that give the city sales tax revenue to finance municipal services.

Hreha stressed the need for more jobs, parks and activities for young people, especially high school age, and for more shopping.

Glancy said business is the fuel that runs the engine that drives the city and regulations should not get in the way of success in business.

Carter said tourists, industry and business have already discovered Kingman.

People are coming, he added, and that as a developer he wants Kingman to look ahead and keep the quality of life.

Schroeder said it is important to improve communication with residents as issues come before the city.

Schoeff said good jobs at Kingman Airport Industrial Park would attract more people with more money to spend in Kingman and increase the sales tax revenue that Kingman depends on.

The three candidates for mayor and the seven competing for three council seats were limited to one-minute answers to questions.

They found it difficult to find something new to say after six others had answered the same question.

The candidates had three minutes to introduce themselves and the reasons they were running and say what they would bring to the office.

At the end of the forum, each had one minute to summarize and ask for votes.

Kingman Unified School District Superintendent Michael Ford was moderator at the forum.

The sponsor was the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce Business and Government Relations Committee.

If no candidate for mayor receives a majority of votes in the March 9 primary, the two candidates with the most votes will be on the May 18 General Election ballot.

If not all council positions are filled in the primary, two candidates with the highest vote count for each remaining seat will be on the May 18 ballot.

French is an incumbent.

The seats of Gates and McVey opened when they decided not to run for re-election so that they could run for mayor.

In the previous council election, one candidate won a seat in the primary and four candidates were on the runoff ballot.The Mohave County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved how to divide $708,243 of federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

The Western Arizona Council of Governments, through its management and executive committees, formulated the regional block-grant distribution for Mohave, La Paz and Yuma counties.

The funds must be applied for by May and will not be available until November.

The total fiscal 2004 allocation for three counties was approximately $3.4 million with Mohave County's overall total of $1,770,608 split three ways.

Forty per percent - $708,243 - will go to Mohave County government, 40 percent ($708,243) to the city of Kingman and 20 percent ($354,122) to Colorado City.

Last week District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers said the threat of unrest in the polygamous community of Colorado City made him consider a motion to withhold those funds.

In his capacity as vice chairman of the executive board of Western Arizona Council of Governments, Byers brought the matter before that board Thursday.

However, the WACOG board did not vote in favor of withholding funds.

The allocation for Mohave County administered funds includes $127,483 for administration and $193,586 for each of the three county districts.

After the Board of Supervisors meeting, Mohave County community development director Susie Parel-Duranceau said supervisors selected the projects in their districts that they felt were in the most need of attention.

Byers' district, where Kingman is located, identified a vehicle and medical equipment for the Sarah's House foundation as the top priority.

Sarah's House is a county-operated victim's center.

The foundation requested funds to purchase a four-wheel-drive response vehicle for emergencies throughout Mohave County; a coposcope for examining victims of assault; and a Telemed station and TACT software for link-up with Phoenix medical facilities.

Byers suggested that approximately $95,000 go toward Sarah's House.

He also suggested that $40,000 go toward the purchase of a brush truck for the Beaver Dam Fire District and $80,000 toward the construction of an additional fire station in the Hualapai Valley Fire District.

Supervisor Tom Sockwell requested that the entire $193,586 for District 2 be spent for the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program for Golden Valley.

The money will go toward rehabilitation of 15 to 17 owner-occupied dwellings, Parel-Duranceau said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson wants to allocate the bulk of District 3 funds to a response vehicle for Lake Havasu Red Cross, with any remaining funds going toward the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program for the Desert Hills area.

The proposed projects submitted for fiscal 2004 block-grant funding must meet certain eligibility requirements and be used to assist the county in delivery of services primarily to low- and moderate- income residents, Parel-Duranceau said.

Grant applications for projects must be submitted by May.

"Hopefully, we will get a grant to fund these projects," she said.

"The funding is for fiscal 2004, which begins in July.

We should get funding by November."