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6:33 AM Sun, Dec. 16th

Mayoral candidates to face off again in debate

March 9 primary election candidates for mayor of Kingman will debate the issues at 6 p.m.

Wednesday at Mohave Community College.

The Student Government Association will host the debate in the student center at 1971 Jagerson Ave.

"One of the goals of SGA is to become more active civically," student government Jodi Gonzalez said.

Questions for incumbent Les Byram and challengers Frank McVey and Monica Gates can be submitted in advance by mail or emailed to sgadebate@mohave.edu.

The candidates answered questions about annexation, economic development, traffic and flooding during a city candidates forum Feb.

17 hosted by the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce.

McVey said he has supported annexation since his first run for mayor in 1990.

He said he favored annexation of the Kingman High School North campus in 1995 and promoted annexation when he ran successfully for the council in 2000.

"I am looking forward to including all those people who live north of Gordon Drive in the city of Kingman," McVey said.

"Absolutely.

The people in North Kingman deserve a voice in the city," Gates said.

"The benefits out weigh the negatives.

It is an investment in our future."

Those living outside the city would have no vote on the Wal-Mart super center rezoning.

"Do the people who live in North Kingman want it?" Byram said.

"When the Waste management suit is settled, we will kook for ways to annex.

We want to be a united community."

Asked about traffic concerns on Stockton Hill Road at the proposed Wal-Mart site, McVey said he had faced a recall because he fells the new store should be at a different location to reduce traffic.

Byram said there is no money to widen Stockton Hill Road but traffic can be diverted to Western and North Glen avenues.

A bridge across Mohave Wash would take traffic to the east, away from Stockton Hill Road to Burbank Street.

Gates said traffic on Stockton Hill Road is a good thing for businesses and attracts them to Kingman.

She said she would find alternate routes for people, such as Western and North Glen avenues, and another east and west route to Route 66 such as a wider Gordon Drive so people would not have to always use Stockton Hill Road for every cross-town trip.

"When will we get the Airway Avenue underpass across the railroad completed?" candidates were asked.

"Within three years," McVey said.

"But, first I would build the crossing near Louise Avenue."

"Yes, we need to build Airway as son as possible," Gates said.

"I am waiting for the KATS (Kingman Area Transportation Study) results to decide on a time line."

Byram said every one agrees that three underpasses at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway are needed, with one at Airway Avenue, a second near Louise Avenue and a third downtown at Topeka Street.

"But, the citizens said no to a property tax to finance them," Byram said.

"We will have to finds new ways to pay for them before they can be built."

Each candidate recognized the need for the city to control flooding near Fairgrounds avenue, without waiting for an expensive and long-term solution, by building a diversion channel east of the railroad.