Approval given for CDBG projects and tentative budget

KINGMAN - It took less than 30 minutes to approve two resolutions - one to move forward with an application for a $431,484 Community Development Block Grant and one to approve the 2012-2013 tentative budget.

It's not that City Council made these decisions without discussion. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Lengthy discussions conducted at two previous meetings paved the way for quick decision-making Tuesday.

First, the $431,484 grant application through the Arizona Department of Housing would pay for three projects as well as the administration costs associated with each. The projects are:

• Continuing the city's owner occupied housing rehabilitation program ($232,453).

• Replacing 2,200-feet of sewer line between Fairfax and Fifth streets and connecting about 30 homes to the line ($90,000).

• Partnering with Mohave Community College to implement a specialized mobile training unit that will provide on-site work related education at businesses mostly located at the Kingman Industrial Park ($31,363). Kingman and MCC plan to split the cost equally.

Council discussed potential projects at length Feb. 21. Councilmember Janet Watson was concerned with the MCC on-the-job training unit because she didn't necessarily agree with paying for something that's outside the city limits.

MCC President Michael Kearns said at the time that the college was trying to create a mobile, on-the-job training facility that could be used to train new employees and current employees at the various manufacturing businesses in the county.

Councilman Richard Anderson asked why MCC didn't go to the county for funding, especially since the county was expected to get the same amount of Community Development Block Grant funding.

Kearns said Kingman would benefit the most from the project because the majority of manufacturing businesses in the county are near or in Kingman.

Vice Mayor Robin Gordon recommended splitting the costs with MCC rather than paying for it outright, and that's what Council approved.

Tuesday, Kingman Grants Administrator Bill Shilling told Council that MCC secured half the funding discussed during the February meeting.

Although the CDBG application discussion was a public hearing and members of the community were asked to provide feedback regarding the projects, no one showed up to speak. With that, Council unanimously approved moving forward with the application to ADOH.

In other quick business, Council unanimously approved the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget.

That means appropriations are set at $163.4 million. Kingman Finance Director Coral Loyd said that if every single penny of appropriated money is spent, this budget would leave the city with a fund balance of a little more than $4 million going into FY 2013-2014's budget process - leaving the city in "OK shape." However, the fund balance could be as much as $7 million depending on exactly what is spent over the course of the year.

Councilwoman Carole Young mentioned that this is the easiest budget she's ever been involved with. Other members of Council agreed, pointing to a convoluted strategy session conducted in February. Though at the time the two-day meeting seemed like a waste, it was clear in April that it had indeed helped create a more concise budget process as Council went through the preliminary budget like wildfire.

Some of the big expenditures planned for the coming fiscal year include, but are not limited to, five police vehicles ($215,000), in-car cameras ($40,000) and security gates at the police station ($28,000). Also, the city will combine $40,130 of bar and restaurant tax revenue with the $384,870 coming from revenue raised by the 2-percent bed tax to replace a 13-year-old fire engine. The city also worked out a longevity program for its employees - something suggested at the February strategy meeting - that will award employees with one-time stipends based on their years of service. It will cost the city $227,000, with about $135,000 coming from the general fund.

Council talked about wanting to conduct the budget process similarly in the future, as the way it was done this year was far superior to previous years.