Big agenda, serious issues await Kingman City Council

KINGMAN - Property taxes.

A ban on handheld devices while driving.

An accountability issue with the Kingman Airport Authority.

The future of tourism efforts.

Kingman Crossing.

The City Council has a loaded agenda to wrestle with when members meet at 5:30 p.m. today.

City staff will provide Mayor Richard Anderson and the Council information on what is required when a city implements a primary property tax. Topics include an overview of property taxes, historical valuations, considerations in determining a base levy, and public safety priorities in upcoming fiscal years.

Voters will decide whether to implement the tax - after a 35-year hiatus - on May 17. If approved, the tentative plan is to seek a $3 million levy to fund public safety. That equates to about $170 a year for a home valued at $100,000, according to Finance Director Tina Moline. The item is for discussion only.

While property taxes will likely generate a lot of discussion in the community, those discussions might not be legal if carried out on a handheld device while driving.

The Council at a meeting last summer directed City Attorney Carl Cooper to draft a proposed ordinance regarding the ban. Cooper and his office has done so, modeling it on a similar ban the city of Tempe recently enacted. The Tempe law bans the use of handheld devices on public roads, but there are exceptions. The Council has the discretion to adopt the ordinance today or make revisions for later adoption. If it is approved, the ban will take effect in 30 days.

Finally, Councilman Mark Abram requested a discussion regarding amending the city's contract with the Kingman Airport Authority, which manages the Kingman Airport and Industrial Park. Abram wants to include a set of performance standards in the agreement that will be used to measure "forward progress" within the industrial park on an annual basis. Staff agrees with Abram's recommendation.

The Council could vote to bring the tourism functions in-house starting in July, rather than through a contract with a third party. That was the consensus that was reached during an Oct. 26 work session. This means a private board of directors affiliated with the Powerhouse would disband, the city's Tourism Development Commission would remain intact, and the city would hire a tourism director who would be on the payroll when the next fiscal year begins July 1, with his or her salary coming out of the city's room tax fund. Josh Noble, the current tourism director, is expected to apply for the position.

Tonight's meeting gets underway at 5:30 p.m. inside Council Chambers at City Hall, 310 N. Fourth Street.