Photo by Hayden Merrill.
KINGMAN – Tensions weren’t as high as last month during Wednesday’s workshop between City Council members and Kingman Airport Authority.
Wednesday’s workshop, the second of four, between the two entities dove deep into public concerns regarding the airport, as well as financial and developmental understanding from the airport authority.
“The goal here is to make Kingman’s airport more competitive in the state and the nation,” said workshop facilitator Bill Pupo.
While the first workshop focused on briefings by the KAA and what to expect from the workshops, the second workshop began the real conversation between the two entities.
“This is an opportunity to learn,” said KAA Chairwoman Krystal Burge. “There is not one person in this room who cannot learn something from this.”
The workshop began with a summary of land sales made by the KAA, and how exactly that money is reinvested back into the airport.
Councilman Travis Lingenfelter questioned where exactly the money is being put to use when the KAA has a recorded Land Sales total of over $10 million within a 10-year span.
KAA board members quickly mentioned that the number Lingenfelter was referring to was a gross sales number, not a net sales number. The KAA must prepare the facility for the new tenants in order to meet certain government requirements. After this cost is deducted from the sale, the remaining balance is intended to be reinvested into the airport within a five-year period.
Another major discussion topic that was discussed involved the possibility of performing a forensic audit of the KAA.
While Burge said that any and all information regarding KAA finances would be available to the city if asked for, City Manager John Dougherty reminded the group of something mentioned by the KAA auditor at last month’s workshop.
“This thing (forensic audit) can cost $100,000 and up,” Dougherty said. “We need to know what we are looking for exactly. If the city just wants an audit, but doesn’t know what it’s looking for, the sky is the limit with price. Right now, the city can’t afford ‘sky is the limit.’”
Arizona Town Hall
Currently, Kingman officials are planning a workshop with the Arizona Town Hall that is intended to bring the public together to plan for the economic future of the city. With KAA holding a lot of the potential for future economic prosperity, the topic was discussed at the workshop.
The meeting has been scheduled for August 19 as an all-day event. And, while some may not be able to attend the event, both entities stressed its importance and recommended attending the follow up meeting to be held August 21.
“One of the biggest benefits of this meeting is that everyone has a voice,” Dougherty said. “It’s a place to start the big discussion.”
One of the highlights of Wednesday’s workshop came at the very end of the day.
KAA’s Treasurer Vearl Haynes offered an apology to members of the City Council and KAA regarding his statements at last month’s workshop when he demanded to know the names of who exactly was asking for a forensic audit.
Haynes said he realized after that his statements were a bit aggressive, and he was sorry for that.
The final topic discussed involved possibly changing the time and/or venue that the future workshops are scheduled to take place. While no steps were officially taken to change the schedule, both entities saw it as something they needed to look into.
“Seeing as there is so much public interest, I am more than willing to look into changing it,” Mayor Monica Gates said.
Members of both the KAA and City Council feel that the workshops are indeed providing progress and understanding between the two groups.
“I feel like we’re making progress. I appreciate everyone putting aside their differences to help out our city,” Gates said.