Budget talks to focus on funding city growth

KINGMAN – Growth and how to pay for it will be a major issue when the Kingman City Council meets for its first fiscal 2005 budget discussion Friday.

"It becomes clear that the presumption that growth pays for itself is a myth when it reaches the current rate in Kingman," City Manager Roger Swenson said.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.

in the council chambers at 310 N.

4th St.

The new fiscal year will begin July 1.

The budget proposed by Swenson maintains a conservative approach while addressing the exponential growth in service and infrastructure demands.

"Kingman has joined the club of rapidly growing cities across Arizona after 20 years of steady but manageable growth," Swenson said.

"Other cities have found it impossible to maintain services and infrastructure needs with the revenue structure they had in place."

Kingman has maintained a "prudent person's" reserve equal to about 25 percent of the annual budget, Swenson said.

His budget proposal gives the council the choice to increase revenue to help pay for the city's growth or use reserve funds.

Fees for water and sewer service have not been increased in years, Kingman Financial Director Coral Loyd said.

However, the budgets for those services have increased because of costs to extend the systems.

Those budgets are separate from the city's general fund and have been set up to be covered by water and sewer fees, but aren't.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is pushing the city to replace the aging downtown wastewater treatment plant and improve a second facility north of the airport that serves the remainder of the city.

Other budget issues are flood control and replacing Fire Station No.

2.

Council members also will discuss employee retention and compensation and the need for more administrative staff.

The various issues are listed in the budget document prepared by Loyd.

Sources of funds besides water, sewer and sanitation fees include the 2 percent sales tax, fees for services such as business licenses and building permits, and state and federal funds such as state highway user funds.

The city total budget is about $63 million with all fund transfers but closer to $40 million when duplication of fund transfers is deducted, Loyd said.

The budget has a state-imposed spending limit of $26,518,817, plus voter approved exclusions of $36,476,857, according to the proposed budget document.

The city does not collect any primary property tax.

The voters turned down reinstatement of the property tax by a two-to-one margin in a spring 2003 vote.