Mayor expresses TPT concerns on Facebook, councilpersons react

Mayor Monica Gates

Mayor Monica Gates

KINGMAN – As one of the two dissenting votes when the Kingman City Council raised the Transaction Privilege Tax, or sales tax, rate at its Aug. 15 meeting, Mayor Monica Gates took to Facebook Friday questioning its validity and transparency.

“The additional .05 percent (sic) that was approved 5-2 by the Council for ‘other capital improvement projects’ was never advertised or publicly discussed prior to the Council meeting,” Gates posted. “This is not transparency. ... (It’s) the highest sales tax rate in Mohave County.”

Gates claimed Kingman’s new TPT rate to be 9.35 percent, but only 3.5 percent is actually Kingman’s rate. County and state sales tax rates make up the difference.

The mayor continued to be adamant about her concerns to whether the public was properly notified and continued to question that on Saturday.

“There was significant discussion at the meeting about using the TPT increase to fund two interchanges,” Gates told the Daily Miner. “The public had no public knowledge of that.”

Councilman David Wayt weighed in and had some strong words for the mayor.

“I believe you left out a crucial point in your argument,” Wayt wrote the mayor. “You forgot to mention that the agenda item that was properly posted with sufficient public notice specifically said ‘TPT rate options, street conditions, other priorities and the fiscal impact of such options will be discussed. The revenues (from the TPT increase) would be dedicated to pavement preservation or AS SET BY COUNCIL’”(emphasis added by Wayt).

“I believe that second guessing our city staff, specifically our City Attorney (Carl Cooper), is not very productive. … It is my hope that going forward, we can stick to facts and do our best to not deceive the public,” Wayt continued.

Gates asked numerous times during the meeting whether using the TPT increase to fund two interchanges was legal, and the city attorney’s staff said it was. She still has her doubts.

“I sent two emails to the City Attorney last week requesting his written legal opinion stating whether or not the Ordinance as noticed, discussed and adopted, violates any state statutes,” Gates said Saturday. “He has not replied.”

Councilman Travis Lingenfelter posted that he expects Kingman Regional Medical Center to present a Letter of Intent to purchase the land voters approved on the south side of Interstate 40 at Kingman Crossing. KRMC has offered to build the interchange there in exchange for purchasing the land, doing a land swap to get an eight-year hiatus on excise taxes, and receiving a future portion of the sales tax that the development generates.

Council voted instead to go for two interchanges, Kingman Crossing and Rancho Santa Fe Parkway. Ranch Santa Fe promises more than retail. It is hoped to be an industrial port for the city and bring in good paying jobs.