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10:50 PM Thu, Jan. 17th

Guest column: Would Kingman's city finances survive scrutiny?

Recently I was approached by a few residents asking me to write another article for community consideration. So let's talk about what is really important to us here in little Kingman right now.

The papers have reported the Kingman City Council is looking at a new tax. Well, isn't that news! This has to be one of the worst city councils anyone has seen. First, they see fit to spend almost $400,000 of taxpayer money on the golf course so only a very few people can go hit a little ball. What the heck is going on here! The city is in financial stress as reported regularly, so what's this losing money on the golf course all about? The argument of Mayor Watson and golf supporters is that the course is vital to the community's financial welfare. So, if that was true, why did the only golf store in town go out of business?

Shouldn't we reduce the waste in government before we ask for more taxpayer money? The biggest debacle in this city's history has to be with not getting voter approval for the $54 million, 4 percent loan for the sewer treatment plants. This was an absolute explosion of gross mismanagement and our current un-elected mayor has been in the middle of all this mess for some time now.

The people of this community have been hornswoggled, as an old timer told me recently. Not sure what that means but it sure sounds bad!

The city administration, not counting the police and fire departments, have been run like special country clubs with special hiring and special firing of anyone who speaks up or has concerns about what's going on. I, for one, with many supporters, have had enough of government misinformation to the public. I am truly disgusted by the financial reports I have seen the last few years coming out of the city. It's clear the current un-elected mayor will never allow a forensic audit to be conducted of the city's books. The weak point of this city is its financial books. If they keep blocking an audit, they will continue to cry wolf!

I wonder - how has the city has become so unfriendly to the citizens? Who started this changing of the form used for reporting the city finances every year? Is this is a method used to make it difficult to audit, as no line item matches against a prior year's item, and thus no comparison can be seen?

I despise public officials who have contempt for the public, and it looks to me as if the current city council is in contempt of the public by blindly protecting management without regard to the public's good. Look at the authoritarian way the city council chamber is when anyone tries to speak at the podium during a council meeting. Looking around the room, you will notice Mrs. Watson and her support team have made sure at least 12 staff members are surrounding you, making you feel very uncomfortable during your comments.

This, to me, is a form of government intimidation, and I don't like it. I would rather see it returned to the days of the past, when you felt more at ease speaking. It's high time for us to stop this mess with the city and vote in a real mayor who has more of the public interest at heart.

The recent disclosure of the water department making a million-dollar profit - or as they like to call it, a "surplus" - is a real sign of cooking the books as this department actually makes much more than that in surplus.

I know the water department's manager and I know managers are picked by how they keep their mouths closed in meetings. Should all staff be chosen by qualifications, rather than political allegiances? What about the $100,000 plus in pay and benefits given to the city human resource director, Mrs. Walker? Is this fair pay when it's almost the same amount our fire chief gets? Why so much money to that person, and does this high pay scale in a small city keep key staff members' mouths closed?

In my opinion, the forensic audit must be conducted of all city departments before any new taxes are created. Integrity needs to return to the city government!