Voters have final say on $56M in bonds

KINGMAN - Residents of Kingman will have final say over raising their property taxes and paying for more than $56 million in public safety upgrades and construction, street expansions and park facility improvements.

City Council has taken the first step toward several long-term improvement projects by issuing a call to election and asking residents to approve what will amount to $56.7 million in bond debt on the November ballot. The bonds will be repaid over seven or more years with increases to secondary property taxes.

The mayor and city manager have also promised to outline all spending for each project on poster boards at the ballot boxes come November.

And following several residents' concerns over the city lumping all the projects together as one bond, the city has met these residents halfway by putting all the street, public safety and park projects into their own categories, resulting in three ballot questions.

According to the staff report given to Council last week, "the voter may vote 'for the bonds' or 'against the bonds' on each separate bond question."

While not all projects will begin at once, Finance Director Coral Loyd said the city may not receive voter approval for several projects if they're split up and put into individual elections.

"For example," she wrote in an e-mail June 20, "a resident in the Camelback area may not have as much support for the Airfield Railroad Crossing if it were identified as a stand-alone project as they would if they recognized it were one of several improvements to improve overall traffic circulation throughout the community."

Loyd gave several reasons in response to a question of why Council is seeking voter approval on all the projects now, instead of issuing half the bonds now, for example, and half in seven years or more when needed.

One reason is to save money on the election, publication, postage, printing and other costs associated with an election, according to Loyd.

She also said, "voter approval of the wide-spread list will allow us to expedite the scoping, design and preliminary work that would otherwise take much longer while awaiting voter approval before beginning each of the projects."