Revenue needs to be found for capital improvement projects

KINGMAN ­ The city has experienced quite a bit of change in the last few years, and the next 25 undoubtedly will prove no different.

So where are the growing pains?

"I think the biggest issue facing this community is providing the infrastructure for our growing population," Mayor Les Byram said.

"The sales tax will probably provide enough money for the operation of the city, but it does not come anywhere close to meeting the needs of the large capital improvements that's badly needed by the city."

Byram said the city would have to address growing capital needs by way of a bond issue, property tax or sales tax increase.

"There will have to be different sources of revenue, not for the operation of the city, but to meet those capital improvement needs."

City Manager Paul Beecher agrees. "We have some infrastructure issues we need to address, as we've shown. I think we need to address some of our financial issues," he said.

"Other than economic development, another one would be controlling our water situation in the Hualapai Valley, and also where we have our wells in the Sacramento Valley, and that's something that we can't ignore," he added.

"It's not just about the city and the county and the schools, all the way around, it's how do we look to finance," said former Mayor Monica Gates.

"When as a community do we determine what do we want collectively, what's in the best interest for our community, and how do we go about paying for it?" Gates said.

"When do we start investing in our own future? Because the strategy of pay-as-you-go, or 'we can only afford to do minimum' ­ very quickly you're going to start to see some services that we've come to depend on, such as the bus, the great Parks and Rec system, you know those are extras, and I'd hate to see a situation like Mesa where they're down to just minimum service," she added.

"That's a shame. That's a huge step backwards."

Mohave Community College Chancellor Tom Henry said the community is coming to grips with the popularity of the area and the influx of challenges that come with a city that's growing and trying to keep pace.

"I think that our citizens, the average citizen in this town and elected official, is pretty squared away in their thinking, I really do. But, you know, they're bombarded, from the non-voting, tax-paying senior to the City Council member, there's a lot of stuff on the board," he said.

"And I think they're doing an admirable job of dealing with it too."

City Economic Director Jeff Weir said the next year would be imperative in the next phase of the city's economic development­expansion of the Industrial Park, pursuing the development of Kingman Crossing and getting the Trade Processing Center initiative off the ground.

"We need to do something. There is a feeling of we need to move, we don't have a lot of time to sit around and wait. There's just too many other things that are dependent upon us finding solutions," he said on the three fronts.

Weir is optimistic about downtown.

"In the next year, you're going to see the depot area revitalized, the Central Commerce (Commercial) building is going to be completely redone, we're working on some physical changes, improvements we can make to the intersections, street lighting and some other things down there. We've got building owners now, property owners that are going, 'you know, we need to get really serious about moving forward,'" he said.

"The attraction of new businesses are going to take a little more time. I do have the sense that we are going to see some additional residential opportunities emerge," he added.