City wish list total hits $238M

With more projects at a higher price, ‘pay as you go’ days are over, official says

KINGMAN – City Council and staff reviewed a preliminary outlook Tuesday night of the city’s capital projects five-year program, now estimated at $238 million. That’s up from the $127 million presented last year.

The numbers were part of a preliminary draft presented of capital improvements for 2007 to 2011.

City Finance Director Coral Loyd listed a few factors that contributed to the rising figures – rising construction costs, a Kingman Crossing interchange and other additions.

City Manager Paul Beecher said there were “a number of projects staring us in the face for two years or more that should’ve been started three or four years ago.”

Beecher added that the Arizona Department of Transportation was raising cost estimates for projects next year by 25 percent.

Loyd said the city’s former financial strategy of “pay as you go” is a thing of the past. “We do not have the revenue streams to pay for these projects and still have operations,” she said.

“It will take a partnership with the community on how we will fund these projects.”

The Council discussed how rising costs would affect the viability of completing the Rattlesnake Wash project.

With the city currently estimated to provide $5 million of the $19 million project cost, Mayor Monica Gates said Kingman would have to “sweeten the pot” to keep it on track, since the Arizona Department of Transportation tentatively agreed to provide the rest of the funds.

The interchange is projected for five to 10 years out and is competing with other projects statewide.

Vice Mayor Tom Spear said the project would bring substantial increase to property values in the area. As such, he said he wanted to see equitable contribution from surrounding developers.

City Engineer Pete Johnson went through a long list of street projects that included eastside improvements along Airway Avenue, four Stockton Hill Road widening projects, widening projects for part of Hualapai Mountain Road, and even another off-grade railroad crossing at Airfield Avenue, or what was mentioned, an overpass.

Johnson said that bids for the Bank Street widening project and a signal at Gordon Avenue would be awarded in May, with construction to follow.

Johnson said he factored in an increase of about 20 percent in construction costs for projects between 2007 and 2009.

Council member Tom Carter said he would like to see a list of the 2007 projects that would be priorities if the city had to single out those that were a must.

Beecher said there would be more firm numbers presented at the next budget session for capital projects, which will be held in April.