A Council Raspberry for All

f you would have had the field dressing concession at last night's city council meeting, you would have made a fortune.  No one left there unscathed.  City workers were stripped of a pay raise.  Taxpayers will be clobbered with an upcoming sales tax increase.  Local businesses will be bludgeoned down a rung on the competition ladder.  Folks passing through and renting a bed will be gouged an extra percent.

All in all, just a great display of the bewildering and often times bizarre rationale used by that body to arrive at decisions which affect us all.  Kingman's welcome wagon has turned into the misery express.

I wound up in the hallway due to a standing room only crowded council chamber.  I would have preferred a spillage out the hall and down the stairs, but folks aren't quite upset enough yet, I guess.  They will be.  It was a goodly turnout, nonetheless.

The sales tax issue and the city pay raise were probably the two "hot button" issues on the agenda.  In typical head scratching fashion, the council on one hand showed good fiscal sense and over-rode a still adamant councilman Ray Lyons waving his pro-wage increase banner – but just barely – by a 4-3 vote, effectively pulling the city pay increase off the budget.

They turned right around and by a 6-1 vote gave staff direction to draft the paperwork necessary to boost the sales tax rate by .15%, (See my prediction of Feb. 03) rounding Kingman's overall sales tax up to an even 8%.  (NOTE: Some jerk was blabbing in the hall so I couldn't hear who cast the No vote but I believe it was Carole Young.  I'll check and correct if necessary.)  Carole has been stalwart in trying to keep from raising the sales tax knowing additional taxes stifle our local businesses. I just have a hunch that the city just lost more sales tax than they will be gaining.

The statement cannot be any clearer that this council is very pro bigger government and has no interest whatsoever in downsizing or further belt-tightening with the rest of us. Nor do they mind giving local business a kick in the teeth while waving a "Shop Local" flag.  That type of twisted logic just makes my head hurt.

I recall that former mayoral candidate Bill Nugent promised smaller city government and wasn't elected so maybe the voters of Kingman are really getting just what they deserve.

  "So Much for That Promise"  Mayor Salem, during his campaign, stated on Aug. 1, 2008 – post #182 on a Topix.com thread that, "I am not for any raises in taxes." Only 8 months – that's how long that campaign promise lasted.  I guess that only applied for that moment – he obviously feels differently today.

I was able to have a say against the proposed Ord. 1656 which would change city parade code to "Special Events" with a lot of muddy language that left "Freedom of Speech" rallies and other politically oriented events absolutely unclear.

We were successful with the help of Vice-Mayor Watson in getting the ordinance tabled for some re-work.  I believe she will follow through and insist on wording that will clearly separate freedom of speech and political protest type events so they are clearly exempt from needless city regulation and oversight.  It appears that "going into the street" is where the problems will begin.

Finally, the council wrote a blank check to ADOT for the Rattlesnake Wash TI right-of-way costs that were previously capped at $313,500.  Knowing how much trouble the state is in, I wonder if it is a good idea to pass a resolution (# 4587-R) that says basically, "Forget the cap – just send us the bill".

Ah, what the heck, when you're sitting on suitcases full of cash, what's a little splurge for friends.

P.S. —  I'm not going to waste any more time on the Rattlesnake Wash TI piece I have started.  My bet is going with the state pushing everything off to the back burner for now.  I'll also bet there's a new game plan later on — much later on.

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