Airfield crossing on the ballot for $6.2M

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth part of a series identifying each individual city of Kingman project appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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KINGMAN - If registered voters give the go-ahead, the city will likely begin construction of a railroad crossing at Airfield Avenue by 2011. The $6.4 million project is one of 10 in the street bond going before voters Nov. 6.

Since the Louise Avenue railroad crossing closed last September, residents have two ways to and from the east side of town: Hualapai Mountain Road and Airway Avenue. "The project would provide a third railroad crossing in the vicinity of the Airfield Avenue alignment," according to the city's Capital Improvements Plan, and it includes improvements to Airfield itself.

"Airfield would be improved to four traffic lanes between Eastern and Andy Devine," according to the report. "It is assumed that signals would be installed at Andy Devine/Airfield and at Airfield/Eastern. A signal warrant study would be necessary."

The exact amount Airfield will be widened has yet to be determined, as a traffic study is needed, but what is known is that the city wants it wider than Louise Avenue, which is two lanes.

The site likely has enough room for an overpass, but land acquisition and cooperation from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad company - as well as from other property owners in the vicinity - remain significant hurdles in the process, according to city officials.

"We're at the railroad's mercy at this point," Acting City Manager Jack Kramer said. The city also is at the public's mercy, as this is one of 10 projects in the street bond they will be voting on.

Council officially began the process to issue bonds on June 18. Area residents will be able to vote on three bonds, one for improvements to streets ($36.4 million), another for public safety upgrades ($11.66 million) and the last for park facilities ($8.64 million) totaling $56.7 million.

There are 17 individual projects between the three categories, meaning that voters will not be able to vote on each project.

According to city officials, categorizing the improvement projects keeps people from voting for the one or two projects they want - projects that will impact them individually.

Because so many projects are needed, according to city officials, the success rate will fall if residents are given the individual choices for each project.

The street improvements bond, as with the other two, will be paid over as many as 24 years by homeowners through a secondary property tax.

For a home valued at $100,000, the owner will pay approximately $61.33 per year in additional taxes. Commercial entities with assessed values of $100,000 will pay approximately $147.20 more per year.

For properties valued higher, the taxes would be higher; for properties of lesser value, taxes would be lower.

If all three bonds are approved, residents with a home valued at $100,000 will pay $95.53 a year in additional property taxes. It will cost business owners $229.28 per year for businesses valued at $100,000.

According to the acting city manager and finance director, the city will be able to swap out projects if a more important item comes up, meaning that the street, public safety or park facility improvements may not all take place with the $56.7 million in bonds being requested.