Tougher city nuisance code proposed

KINGMAN - In response to criticisms of increasing urban blight, the Kingman City Council on Tuesday will consider a trio of ordinances designed to add some teeth to the city's nuisance code.

The three ordinances, which will be considered as a single agenda item, include a minimum fine schedule for first-time and repeat offenders, a court-ordered abatement process, and an appeal process for orders to vacate buildings that are deemed unfit for habitation.

The fine schedule establishes a minimum fine of $150 for city residents who are convicted of a nuisance code violation, with additional fines of $250 and $500 for additional offenses within the following 60 months. Fines imposed and collected would be placed in a special abatement fund the city would use to clean up or remove nuisances on the offending property.

The court order process will allow the city to appeal to the municipal court to seek an order that would effectively require offending parties to abate the nuisance on their property. According to the city attorney's office, this would ensure that a property owner's due process rights are more fully observed, since the property owner could then appeal to the court if they disagree with the order. Currently, all abatements are driven by city staff members, with Council serving as the appellate body.

The new ordinances would also ensure that Neighborhood Services will give nuisances no longer than 60 days to be abated before issuing a citation to the property owner. In the past, Neighborhood Services would often extend the abatement process well beyond that, without a minimum fine structure to provide more direction.

Elsewhere on the agenda, Council is expected to approve a change order for the installation of two additional traffic lights at the intersection of Airway Avenue and Yavapai Drive. At the Feb. 15 Council meeting, Councilwoman Janet Watson had expressed concern that a new signal that had been built at the intersection did not include traffic lights on the signal poles, but only overhead lights, which she said could cause a problem for motorists during morning and evening hours when glare from the sun makes the overhead lights hard to see.

According to contractor Roadway Electric LLC, the new lights should be installed within 57 days of the change order's approval, and should cost the city an additional $3,723 on top of the roughly $282,000 the city is already expected to pay for the rest of the signal.

Finally, Council will receive another budget update from Finance Director Coral Loyd, this time focusing on the city's various fund balances, including the general fund and the various other funds the city maintains, including enterprise, capital improvement, debt service and state-shared revenues such as the Highway User Revenue Fund. As the city prepares to begin discussing major budget proposals for the coming fiscal year, Loyd has cautioned that the city cannot continue maintaining its current spending levels without raising new revenues. She is expected to present her own projections for where the various funds will stand when the current fiscal year ends June 30.

Tuesday's meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 310 N. Fourth St. For full agenda details, visit www.cityofkingman.gov and click "Agendas, Minutes and Video."