Impact fees won't cover interchange

Kingman’s portion of funding for Rattlesnake Wash will not be secured by surcharge

Officials last month were presented with two options for offsetting costs to the city if it were to reduce its impact fee rates: either increase the sales tax or drop the Rattlesnake Wash traffic interchange project from the capital improvements list - and, consequently, from ADOT's five-year plan.

After the Arizona Department of Transportation Board's recent vote to place the Rattlesnake project on the books, the Standard weekly newspaper ran an article under the sub-headline, "Funding secured for key Kingman interchange." The article quoted the city's finance director as saying impact fees would pay for Kingman's share of Rattlesnake Wash: "The source of revenue that we've identified currently in the capital improvement plan are the development investment fees for transportation. Those are impact fee funds basically that are provided by new development throughout the community."

Fortunately, the city is responsible for only 30 percent of the project, about $11 million of the approximately $35-million interchange project. The state is picking up the majority of the tab.

Unfortunately, the city's impact fee revenue totaled only $1.7 million through June 30, an amount comprising incomes since the fees were implemented in 2006. The transportation portion of those revenues - the part that legally could be used to pay for the traffic interchange - sits at a two-year total of $756,839.

Based on the past two years' income, the city wouldn't be able to pay its share of Rattlesnake Wash using impact fees until 2037.

That is, at the average annual income rate of $378,418 per year, it would take more than 29 years to pay off the $11 million debt.

Mayor John Salem, in an interview this week, acknowledged that impact fees wouldn't cut it.

"We're going to have to entertain some other sources of funding," both for Rattlesnake Wash and the proposed Kingman Crossing traffic interchange, he said.

The two projects are planned along Interstate 40 east of the Andy Devine/Route 66 interchange. Kingman Crossing is about 1.5 miles east of Route 66. Rattlesnake Wash is about 1.5 miles farther east.

If Kingman does not have its share of the costs for Rattlesnake Wash by 2013, the project will be canceled. There are several other options available, including revenue bonds, community facilities districts and other cost-sharing avenues available to the city, all of which will be explored for the two projects, Salem said.

Currently there is no proposal on the table from the developers of the Kingman Crossing North property, but officials say the owners are looking forward to figuring out something both sides can agree on.

Jerry Willis of Vanderbilt Farms, the owner of Kingman Crossing North, did not return a call for comment before this article's publication deadline.

"The impact fees aren't going to solve this," Salem said. "It will help, but we're going to have to come up with some other way to do it."