Kingman Mayor, Council members sworn in for new terms

Wimpee, Carver put to test on their first day on the dais

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Councilwoman Janet Watson, Mayor John Salem and former Vice Mayor Robin Gordon look on as former Councilman Keith Walker says farewell.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Councilwoman Janet Watson, Mayor John Salem and former Vice Mayor Robin Gordon look on as former Councilman Keith Walker says farewell.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - Two said goodbye. Two said hello. Two thanked the city for inviting them back.

Kingman Municipal Court Judge Kathy McCoy administered the oath of office to newly elected Councilmen Larry Carver and Mark Wimpee and re-elected officials Councilwoman Carole Young and Mayor John Salem.

Outgoing Council members Robin Gordon and Keith Walker were presented with plaques thanking them for their service to the city and asked to say a few words before stepping down.

Gordon thanked the community, her colleagues and city staff for all the support and help during the last four years. She looks forward to more free time and the opportunity to fully commit to community projects she's involved in, such as the Sounds of Kingman and serving on the Boys & Girls Club's board of directors.

Walker said, "It's hard to believe it's been four years."

He motioned to Council's newest additions and said he believes the city is being left in good hands.

Both Walker and Gordon received a nice round of applause from the people packed inside Council chambers to witness the changing of the guard.

With that, 2012's version of the Kingman City Council took its place on the dais.

After a brief executive session, Councilwoman Janet Watson was named vice mayor. Council also decided to keep Watson as the liaison to the Western Arizona Council of Governments. According to WACOG's website, the entity is a governmental non-profit dedicated to serving its local jurisdictions, income challenged households, and vulnerable populations in Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave counties.

Once the ceremony ended, the new Council got to work. Carver and Wimpee have said numerous times that they can't make everybody happy when making decisions - a feeling shared by their counterparts. But no one knew that idea would be put to the test on the first day.

Council heard a request from Karen and Leonard Zeyouma to appeal the Municipal Utilities Commission's unanimous decision to deny their request to relocate their septic system.

Section 4.3 of Kingman's Utility Regulations states, "After a public sewer is available, development on a previously undeveloped property or redevelopment of a previously developed property shall be connected to the public sewer system." Available, in this context, refers to properties within 500 feet of an existing sewer main.

The Zeyoumas' property sits about 250 feet from a sewer main, and that's why MUC denied their septic relocation request.

"There's no room to grow because of where they (contractors) placed it (septic tank)," Karen said. Two lots sit between the Zeyoumas' home and the sewer main, but both have remained vacant since the Zeyoumas built their home more than 20 years ago.

They were told in the past that once those lots were filled they would be able to connect to the city's sewer system. It hasn't happened, Karen said.

The Zeyoumas want to basically rotate their septic tank so that it sits parallel to the home instead of perpendicular as it does now. This change would make it so they have 16-feet of expansion room instead of 11.

Karen said she and her husband are not opposed to connecting to the city's system, but the cost to get the line to their home, connect to the system and abandon the septic system is exorbitant. Because the two properties between their home and the sewer main are vacant, paying for the line extension falls squarely on their shoulders. The quote they received from the city pushes $23,000.

Compare that to the $2,300 it would cost to relocate the septic system, and it's clear why the Zeyoumas made their request.

There is some buyback potential, though, but someone would need to develop the properties between the Zeyoumas' home and the sewer main.

Councilman Richard Anderson suggested expanding within the 11 feet of space they currently have, but even that would violate the city's utility regulations. With the way the law is written, the Zeyoumas have no way to avoid paying for the connection other than simply giving up on expanding their home.

Ordinances and laws are created with the intention that people abide by them, Salem said. If Council were to grant the Zeyoumas an exception in this case, it would create precedent and essentially change the law, he said.

"I feel for you. I wish we could do something, but we can't violate our own laws," Salem said, adding that if they did grant an exception in this case it could land the city in court down the road.

With that, Council voted 7-0 to deny the Zeyoumas' appeal.