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3:15 PM Fri, Oct. 19th

Rate, tax hikes on agenda

City utility bills expected to go up about $13 a month

KINGMAN - City residents should brace for another hit to the wallet as the Kingman City Council meets today to discuss further adjustments to the municipal water and wastewater rates.

The city last approved such an increase in December. The new increase is intended as the first in a series of annual adjustments designed to raise enough money to pay for the city's loans on several water and wastewater capital improvement projects.

The proposed increase would raise the average residential water bill by $2.61 per month, with sewer bills rising by $10.69. If Council adopts the ordinance, the new rates would take effect Jan. 1.

Council will also continue its discussion on whether to raise the city's existing 2-percent hotel room tax, to add a new tax to restaurants and bars or to simply raise the 2-percent sales tax across the board to help pay for various economic development ideas.

Staff will give Council three draft options; one each for hotel tax, restaurant/bar tax and sales tax. A one-percent rise in hotel tax would bring in an estimated $138,000 per year, while a similar tax on restaurants would add $583,000 annually to the city's coffers. Raising the sales tax would provide the biggest revenue boost, however, with a .15 percent increase capable of raking in $870,000 over the same time.

Council may also consider scrapping any tax increases, opting instead to tap its contingency fund to pay for economic development initiatives. Whichever it settles on, Council will not vote on final adoption of any ordinance until its Oct. 19 meeting.

Elsewhere on the agenda, Council will hold a public hearing on an amendment to the city subdivision ordinance that would allow developers to seek unlimited two-year plat extensions on their subdivisions. The ordinance would also remove a requirement that developers show progress on their subdivisions when seeking the extension. Currently developers are limited to one-year extensions, which have become increasingly commonplace due to the moribund homebuilding industry stalling many local subdivisions.

Today's meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 310 N. Fourth St. For full agenda details, visit the city's Web site, www.cityofkingman.gov and look under "Agendas and Minutes."