Who is watching out for homeowners and buyers?

As I look out my window at all the changes in Kingman over the past 18 months, I can only wonder who is looking out for the citizens in this wonderful city.

A thousand new homes per year, five times what were built just a few years ago, and the traffic generated brings up a lot of questions. How has the Kingman Building Office changed to meet this extra workload? Mayor Gates cites improvement of that department as one of her and the City Council’s accomplishments.

One of those amazing accomplishments is the virtual abandonment of building inspections for new homes, according to newspaper accounts. If a builder continues to build the same models, just one inspection is required, according to the news article. That would likely be the occupancy inspection when all the work is covered by paint.

I assume that puts the builders and the many sub-contractors that actually build the houses on the honor system while also being pressured by the builder for low bids.

Question: Who is looking out for Kingman homeowners and buyers?

I once spent a lot of time in various city departments while reporting on city government. I remember letters from Bill Nugent and Dave Hollingsworth posted on city bulletin boards. One of those Nugent letters named city officials that should be fired. Most have been forced out since the current mayor and Council took office.

Question: Are city employees working under fear of their jobs?

The city has leased the old Penney’s building to give the Building Office larger quarters. Inspectors are tough to hire, but extra space was deemed needed. A consultant could find only one space in downtown Kingman to lease and it is owned by Council Member Jim Baker. The lease was approved on the consent agenda. 

Question: Did taxpayers get a good deal?

Mayor Gates talks about “connecting the city” with two I-40 interchanges as a traffic solution. One is Kingman Crossing near Sage Street east of Andy Devine and was proposed by Nugent and Hollingsworth, as they want to develop commercial property that needs a zoning change. The other is near Rattlesnake Wash at the far eastern city limits. It would put traffic into the Rancho Santa Fe area. Both are a long ways from current traffic problems.

Question: Are the interchanges included in the $250 million of projects the mayor says we need?

Growth pays for itself. Council candidate, real estate broker and developer C. David Cooley says so. He uses Henderson, Nev., as an example. Do you want to live on crowded, rocky lots where freeway construction is constant?

I prefer Boulder City with its limited growth or a limited-growth Kingman. Developers “always” pay their share? The $9.2 million in bonds to finance the Airway Extension was financed with bonds sold by the city of Kingman. Developers have a lien on each lot, just like the financing of East Golden Gate improvements. But, the Airway lots are vacant. If developers never build houses, Kingman could own a lot of vacant land and still have bonds to repay.

If the houses are built, the buyers will pay the lien when they purchase the house. Of course, Nugent has sold that portion of the land and looks forward to Kingman Crossing commercial lots.

Question: How much risk did Kingman assume?

Did you notice that $750,000 water storage tank proposed east of Kingman to serve developers east of Kmart? That will be paid for through your water bill. That is part of the increased sewer, water and garbage user fees.

Question: Who is looking out for Kingman homeowners?

Maybe that is part of Gates’ “better perspective.” She has become a homebuilder and developer. All those executive sessions that began with this administration do not fit with promises to open the city to better communication. A campaign that promised open government, a cooperative Council and citizen input has become just the opposite.

When you go to vote, ask yourself which candidates will look out for you and which ones will look out for developers. Vote at the new county building now, ask for an absentee ballot or go to the polls March 14.


Window Pain 

Arizona is paying a high price for illegal but cheap immigrant labor. Check the cost of English language programs and the low wages in construction and other industries. Arizona has low wages because of the huge supply of illegal workers. Yet, employers, state officials and the feds all walk around the issue as if it did not exist. Voters are angry, but the same old situation goes on.