County administrator: Water is a critical issue for Kingman

Mohave County Administrator Mike Hendrix speaks at the Mohave Republican Forum Wednesday.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Mohave County Administrator Mike Hendrix speaks at the Mohave Republican Forum Wednesday.

KINGMAN – Mohave County Administrator Mike Hendrix went through individual biographies of his top staff Wednesday when he spoke about the county’s focus on customer service at the Mohave Republican Forum.

In the hours following a deluge in the Hualapai Mountains, people expect Public Works to get out there immediately, day or night, weekday or weekend.

“I believe the county has come a long way since I started, even though there’s a lot of room for improvement and things we can do better,” Hendrix said. “I’m extremely proud of our county employees and their dedication.”

Here are some other talking points from Hendrix at the forum:

• Attracting and retaining quality employees is the difference between having a “mediocre” county and an “exceptional” county, he said. That’s how you take care of health services, road repairs, code enforcement and building permits.

• A quarter-cent increase in the sales tax is an “extremely powerful tool,” generating about $6 million a year, the county administrator mentioned. It was used to build the county administration office, the county jail and the sheriff’s office. And it would go a long way toward maintaining more than 2,000 miles of county roads, of which about 1,200 miles are unpaved.

“Of course, water is a critical issue for Kingman and Mohave County,” Hendrix said.

The last study showed no farm growth, and now it’s booming, he noted. The county has hired an outside attorney to help with legislation to protect the groundwater supply and to keep the county’s allocation of Colorado River water from going to the Central Arizona Project.

“I think history is going to judge us and say, ‘What the heck were they doing? They let the Kingman water supply go from 250 years to 25 years.’”

• The county’s $39 million liability for the Public Safety Pension Retirement System and Elected Officials Retirement Plan wasn’t resolved with the most recent budget and will continue to grow to $41 million next year.